Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Freedom's Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War" Opens at Ford's Theatre, March 13th

From our friends at Ford's Theatre...

Ford's Theatre Society Presents Freedom's Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, March 13 - May 20, 2015

Musical Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Assassination

The Ford’s Theatre Society 2014-15 season continues with the musical Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, directed by Jeff Calhoun, March 13 through May 20, 2015, at the historic Ford’s Theatre (511 Tenth Street NW, Washington, D.C.). A new adaptation of the Broadway musical The Civil War, Freedom’s Song features the words of Abraham Lincoln and music inspired by the letters of those who lived through the Civil War. The production is part of Ford’s 150: Remembering the Lincoln Assassination, a series of events marking the 150 years since Abraham Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre.

With rousing music, historic costumes and the words of Lincoln, Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War evokes the soaring hopes and tragic losses of the real people of Civil War America. Through a series of highly theatrical vignettes, we see ordinary Americans courageously confront the gritty realities of a tattered nation and a war that pitted brother against brother. Lincoln’s inspirational words intermix with these stories, imagining a bloody nation once again unified and the return of a truly United States.

“The Civil War era was the first time that so many Americans traveled more than a few miles from their homes, and they brought their music with them. Spirituals and bluegrass from the mountains met with more European influences in the North - giving birth to a uniquely American musical vocabulary. That vocabulary and the unique experiences of the men and women from the period, both great and small, are woven into Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War,” said composer Frank Wildhorn.

“This spring, the nation remembers 150 years since the close of the Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. In our new production, adaptors Richard Hellesen and Mark Ramont have added Lincoln’s writings and speeches to the stories that Frank Wildhorn, Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy discovered and so beautifully set to music. We hope audiences will be drawn to the melody and be moved by the stories of life in 1860s,” said Director of Ford’s Theatre Paul R. Tetreault.

Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War is made possible by Lead Sponsor Altria Group and Production Sponsors Raytheon Company, KPMG LLC and Time Warner Cable. The 2014-2015 season sponsors are The Home Depot and Chevron.

Jeff Calhoun returns to Ford’s Theatre following his 2014 production of Violet. A Ford’s Theatre Associate Artist, Calhoun’s Ford’s directing credits include multiple annual galas, the 2009 production of The Civil War, Shenandoah and Deaf West’s Big River. His many Broadway credits include Disney’s Newsies (eight Tony nominations including Best Director), Annie Get Your Gun (Tony Award, Best Revival), Grease (Tony nominated, Best Choreography), The Will Rogers Follies (Tony Award, Best Musical), Bonnie and Clyde, Grey Gardens, Brooklyn and Tommy Tune Tonite! Calhoun also directed the national, West End and International tours of Disney’s Newsies, as well as the national tours of Tappin’ Thru Life, 9 to 5: The Musical, and High School Musical. Other regional credits include work with Pulse, Asolo Repertory and the Old Globe.

The ensemble cast of Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War features Carolyn Agan, Todd Adamson, Jessica Lauren Ball, Ryan Burke, Ashley D. Buster, Samuel Edgerly, Christopher D. Harris, Gregory Maheu, Matthew G. Myers, Ines Nassara, Tracy Lynn Oliver, Michael J. Mainwaring, Kevin McAllister, Jobari Parker-Namdar, Nova Y. Payton, Rayshun LaMarr Purefoy, Chris Sizemore, Darren Ritchie, Matthew Schleigh, Stephen Gregory Smith and Jason Wooten.

Jeff Calhoun’s design team includes Scenic Designer Tobin Ost (Violet, The Civil War, Shenandoah); Costume Designer Wade Laboissonniere (The Widow Lincoln; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Violet; Hello, Dolly!; others); Lighting Designer Michael Gilliam (Violet, The Civil War, Shenandoah, Big River, others); Projection Designer Aaron Rhyne (Violet, The Civil War); Sound Designers David Budries (The Widow Lincoln; Violet; Hello, Dolly!; Our Town; 1776; Parade; others); Orchestrator and Music Advisor Kim Scharnberg (Hello, Dolly!; 1776; The Civil War) and Music Director Michael T. Sebastian. Freedom’s Song also features Wig and Makeup Design by Anne Nesmith (The Widow Lincoln, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Violet, Our Town, Necessary Sacrifices, Parade, others), Military Choreography by David Leong. The production team includes Production Stage Manager Craig A. Horness and Assistant Stage Manager Taryn Friend.

There will be audio-described performances of Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 2, 2015, at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 9, 2015, at 2 p.m. A captioned performance is scheduled for Saturday, May 9, 2015, at 2 p.m. A sign-interpreted performance is Thursday, April 30, 2015, at 7:30 p.m.

Following the 7:30 p.m. performance of Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War on Saturday, May 2, 2015, talk theatre with fellow audience members at a Meet and Mingle event with cast members who will be on hand to discuss the production. This free event takes place at the restaurant Bistro D'oc (518 10th Street, NW), located just across the street from Ford’s Theatre. A cash bar will be available.

Patrons age 35 and under are invited to attend Under 35 Night for Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, Thursday, May 14, 2015. Use promo code UNDER35 to purchase $18 tickets to the performance, then stay late for a complimentary glass of beer. Spend time with other young arts fans, meet new people and see Ford’s Theatre in a brand new light. Purchase tickets in advance through Ticketmaster online or by calling (800) 982-2787. The Under 35 discount (no reception) also is available for Friday and Saturday matinee performances during the run of Freedom’s Song. Patrons must show valid ID at the Ford’s Theatre Box Office when claiming Under 35 tickets. Limit of six per person.

Senior citizens (60+) may purchase discounted tickets to weekday and weekend matinees of Freedom’s Song at Ford’s Theatre in the premium orchestra and rear orchestra. These tickets may be purchased in advance through Ticketmaster online or by calling (800) 982-2787. Patrons must show ID at the Ford’s Theatre Box Office. Limit of two per person. Senior prices for Freedom’s Song are: weekday matinees: $30; weekend matinees: $40.

About Ford’s Theatre Society:
One of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital, Ford’s Theatre reopened its doors in 1968, more than a hundred years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Operated through a partnership between Ford’s Theatre Society and the National Park Service, Ford’s Theatre is the premier destination in the nation’s capital to explore and celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s ideals and leadership principles: courage, integrity, tolerance, equality and creative expression.

The Ford’s Theatre Society was founded under the guidance of executive producer Frankie Hewitt, who, during her 35-year tenure, established Ford’s as a living, working theatre producing performances that highlighted the diversity of the American experience. Since the arrival of Paul R. Tetreault as Director, critics and the theatergoing public have recognized Ford’s for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the nationally acclaimed Big River to the world premieres of Meet John Doe, The Heavens Are Hung In Black, Liberty Smith, Necessary Sacrifices and The Widow Lincoln, Ford’s Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape. Under the leadership of Wayne R. Reynolds, Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus (Chairman 2007 to 2012), the mission of Ford’s Theatre Society expanded to include education as a central pillar. This expansion led to the creation and construction of the Center for Education and Leadership, which opened in February 2012. Currently, under the leadership of Board of Trustees Chairman Eric A. Spiegel, Ford’s enters a second phase of strategic planning to ensure the organization’s place as a national destination for exploring Lincoln’s legacy and the American experience through the intersection of history, performance and education.