Regional Premiere of "For the Glory!" Explores Civil War in Song at MCCC's Kelsey Theatre Feb. 9-18

1/17/07


Experience one of the most momentous periods in American history when Cheng/Ferrara Productions presents "For The Glory! - The Civil War Musical" at MCCC's Kelsey Theatre. Dates and show times for this New Jersey premiere event are: Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 9, 10, 16, and 17 at 8 p.m., and Sundays, Feb. 11 and 18 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on Mercer's West Windsor campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road. An opening night reception will follow the performance on Feb. 9 to give the audience a chance to meet the cast and crew.

Written by Frank Wildhorn, Gregory Boyd, and Jack Murphy, with music by Wildhorn,"For the Glory" is a unique musical production, fusing techniques from rock music, concert performance, oratorios and song-cycles. Inspiration for the show comes from Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, and Abraham Lincoln, as well as from the letters, photographs and journals of actual Civil War era figures including slaves, Union and Confederate soldiers, and abolitionists.

Presenting the cast of "For the Glory: (front row on floor, l-r) William Kamps, Ja-Tun Thomas, Vicky Czarnik, James Petro; (second row, seated) Faye E. Macey, Ben Walker, Keith Spencer, and Andy Mahaney; (third row, standing) Anthony Vitalo, Tom Bessellieu, Allwyn L. Baskin, Antwan Michael, Keith Nielsen, Michaela Tomcho, Darrell Woodliff, Tara C. Walters; (top row) Sean Downing and Pat Parton. Not pictured: Tim Walton. Photograph by Kresimir Juraga.

Rather than proceeding as a conventional narrative, the show's powerful musical score expresses the universal sentiments of characters who lived through this extraordinary era, exploring political themes through emotion-laden personal stories. The Union and Confederate armies sing of their excitement as they prepare for battle. Slaves sing of their pain and misery as they are sold as property. An abolitionist, in certain scenes identified as Frederick Douglass, lobbies President Lincoln and the Union as he seeks an end to the injustice suffered by his people. The enslaved join in rousing gospel numbers, keeping their hopes and spirits alive despite their hardships. A soldier and his wife try to ease their separation by writing frequent letters. Captains from the opposing armies wrestle with the decisions they must make. A nurse reflects on her difficult work. Soldiers of both armies, gradually realizing the horrors of war, face despair, defeat and death.

"For the Glory" opened on Broadway as "The Civil War" and was nominated for two 1999 Tony Awards: Best New Musical and Best Score. Mr. Wildhorn, also the creator of Broadway's "Jekyll and Hyde" and "The Scarlet Pimpernel," produced a star-studded concept album called "The Civil War: The Complete Work," which featured Hootie and the Blowfish, Blues Traveler, Travis Tritt, Dr. John, and Betty Buckley. In 2006, the writers presented a new version of the show at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, PA, now making its way to Kelsey Theatre for its first opening in this region.

The cast (in order of appearance) includes: William Kamps as the Union Captain; Andy Mahaney as the Confederate Captain; Sean Downing, Keith Nielsen, Pat Parton, James Petro, Anthony Vitalo, Ben Walker, and Darrell Woodliff as the Soldiers; Michaela Alyse Tomcho as Sarah; Keith Spencer* as the Abolitionist; Demetria Bailey*, Allwyn Baskin, Faye E. Macey, Antwan Michael, Ja-Tun Thomas, Tara C. Walters,
and Timothy Walton as the Slaves; Vicky Czarnik as the Mother; and Tom Bessellieu in dual roles, including President Lincoln. ( Actors marked with an asterick appear courtesy of Actors Equity Association.) Nicholas Cheng of Hamilton is the show's musical director; Frank Ferrara of Florence is the director. Choreography is by Jill Potash of Hamilton.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students and children. Free parking is available next to the theater. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible and provides assisted listening devices upon request. For a complete listing of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey webpage or call the box office for a brochure.

For more on events at Kelsey see:

Kelsey Webpage
Ticket Information
Audition Information
Kelsey Kids Playshops

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