The Civil War (musical)

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The Civil War
Civil war.musical.jpg
Original Recording
MusicFrank Wildhorn
LyricsJack Murphy
BookGregory Boyd
Frank Wildhorn
Productions1998 Houston
1999 Broadway
2000 US National Tour
2007 Gettysburg, PA
2009 Washington, D.C.
2015 Washington, D.C.

The Civil War is a musical written by Gregory Boyd and Frank Wildhorn, with lyrics by Jack Murphy and music by Wildhorn. The musical centers on the American Civil War, with the musical numbers portraying the war through Union, Confederate, and slave viewpoints. The musical was nominated for two Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical. Its styles include Gospel, Folk, Country, Rock, and Rhythm and Blues.

Production history[edit]

A studio cast album was released in 1999 by Atlantic Records, and included Linda Eder, Maya Angelou, James Garner, Hootie & the Blowfish, Travis Tritt, Dr. John and Betty Buckley.[1] Both a double-disc album was released as "The Complete Work", and a "highlights" version entitled "The Nashville Sessions". "The Nashville Sessions" charted on Billboard's Top Country Albums, eventually peaking at #48. [2]

The musical had its world premiere at the Alley Theatre, Houston, Texas, on September 16, 1998, where co-author Boyd is the Artistic Director.[3] The production was supervised by Gregory Boyd, with musical staging by George Faison and staging by Nick Corley. The cast featured Linda Eder (Hanna Hopes), Keith Byron Kirk (Frederick Douglass), Beth Leavel (Mrs. Lydia Bixby/Violet), Jesse Lenat (Autolycus Fell), Capathia Jenkins (Hope Jackson), Matt Bogart (Pvt. Nathaniel Taylor) and Michael Lanning (Capt. Emmet Lochran).[4]

The musical premiered on Broadway at the St. James Theatre on April 22, 1999 and closed on June 13, 1999, running for 61 performances and 35 previews. Directed by Jerry Zaks with musical staging by Luis Perez, the cast featured Leavel as Mabel/Mrs. Bixby, Kirk as Frederick Douglass, Bogart as Private Sam Taylor, and Leo Burmester as Autolycus Fell.

The musical toured in the United States, starting in January 2000 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The original cast of 28 had been reduced to 15. "Rather than playing individual characters, they all play everyman - a soldier, a wife, a nurse, a girlfriend, a slave." Stephen Rayne directed, with a cast that included Larry Gatlin alternating with John Schneider and BeBe Winans.[5]

The Civil War was one of the productions produced at the newly renovated Ford's Theatre (Washington, D.C.), running from March 27, 2009 through May 24. Directed by Jeff Calhoun, the 16-member cast featured Jarrod Emick, Eleasha Gamble, Michael Lanning and Timothy Shew, with the recorded voice of Hal Holbrook as Lincoln. The production is conceived in a concert setting.[6]

In 2006, a new version of the musical opened at the Majestic Theatre in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Called For the Glory: The Civil War Musical in Gettysburg, it featured two new songs and a new structure.[7]


(As presented on Broadway, 1999)


The Variety review of the Alley Theatre production said that the show was not "a traditional musical as a revue-style presentation of a song cycle. Wildhorn and co-creators Jack Murphy and Gregory Boyd impose precious little narrative structure on 'The Civil War', preferring instead to integrate individual, self-contained vignettes as elements in a thematically consistent but essentially bookless concert". The production uses "rear-screen projections of photos, paintings and letters [to] evoke the period setting".[4]

It was panned by critics, including The New York Times, which found it "generic...without plot and essentially without character".[8]


The Nashville Sessions[edit]

The Civil War: The Nashville Sessions
Cast recording by
ReleasedNovember 3, 1998
GenreShowtune, Country, Rock, Pop
1."Prologue"Charlie Daniels1:25
2."The Day the Sun Stood Still"Travis Tritt4:53
3."Missing You (My Bill)"Deana Carter3:44
4."Virginia"Gene Miller4:51
5."Old Gray Coat"Trace Adkins3:49
6."I'll Never Pass This Way Again"Tracy Lawrence3:26
7."River Jordan"BeBe Winans6:41
8."With These Hands"Bryan White & Amy Grant4:42
9."Judgment Day"Shiloh5:11
10."Tell My Father"Kevin Sharp4:11
11."I Never Knew His Name"Linda Eder3:36
12."Regimental Drummer"Michael English4:14
13."The Honor of Your Name"Trisha Yearwood3:50
14."In Great Deeds"Charlie Daniels0:39
15."Last Waltz for Dixie"John Berry4:40
Total length:59:52

The Complete Work[edit]

The Civil War: The Complete Work
Cast recording by
ReleasedJanuary 5, 1999
GenreShowtune, Country, Rock, Pop
Disc 1
1."Prologue"Charlie Daniels1:24
2."Brother, My Brother"Michael Scott Lanning2:54
3."Lincoln: The Better Angels Of Our Nature"James Garner1:54
4."By The Sword/Sons Of Dixie"Broadway All-Stars4:23
5."Tell My Father"Kevin Sharp4:10
6."My Name Is Frederick Douglass"Danny Glover1:31
7."Freedom's Child"Hootie & The Blowfish4:19
8."Missing You (My Bill)"Deana Carter3:44
9."If Prayin' Were Horses"Michael Bell & Cheryl Freeman4:08
10."Virginia"Gene Miller4:52
11."The Day The Sun Stood Still"Travis Tritt4:53
12."Oh Be Joyful"Broadway All-Stars4:31
13."Frederick Douglass: The Destiny Of America"Danny Glover0:51
14."Father How Long?"Michael Bell3:25
15."Reprise: Brother, My Brother"Michael Scott Lanning1:37
16."A Nurse's Diary"Linda Eder2:14
17."I Never Knew His Name"Linda Eder3:36
18."Still I Rise"Maya Angelou0:57
19."River Jordan"BeBe Winans6:41
Disc 2
1."Lincoln: The Bottom Is Out Of The Tub"James Garner1:06
2."How Many Devils?"Broadway All-Stars3:57
3."Old Gray Coat"Trace Adkins3:50
4."With These Hands"Amy Grant & Bryan White4:41
5."The White House At Night"Ellen Burstyn1:31
6."A Candle In The Window"Linda Eder5:04
7."Greenback"Dr. John4:37
8."Sojourner Truth: Ain't I A Woman?"Maya Angelou1:30
9."Someday"Patti LaBelle6:35
10."Regimental Drummer"Michael English4:14
11."I'll Never Pass This Way Again"Tracy Lawrence3:27
12."Lincoln: Letter To Mrs. Bixby"James Garner1:12
13."Five Boys"Betty Buckley3:12
14."Judgement Day"Shiloh5:11
15."Sarah"Carl Anderson4:10
16."The Honor Of Your Name"Trisha Yearwood3:52
17."Northbound Train"John Popper4:58
18."Last Waltz For Dixie"John Berry3:26
19."In Great Deeds"Charlie Daniels0:38
20."The Glory"Michael Lanning, Gene Miller, Linda Eder And Choir7:11

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1999 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Original Score Frank Wildhorn and Jack Murphy Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Michel Bell Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Cheryl Freeman Nominated
Outstanding Music Frank Wildhorn Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Paul Gallo Nominated


  1. ^ The Civil War, retrieved January 6, 2010
  2. ^
  3. ^ World Premieres Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine"Alley Theatre", retrieved January 6, 2010
  4. ^ a b Leydon, Joe. "The Civil War", Variety, September 28, 1998 - October 4, 1998, p. 188
  5. ^ Morris, Terry. "'The Civil War' To Charge Into Downtown Cincy", Dayton Daily News (Ohio), January 16, 2000, p. 2C
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Emmick, Leggs, Lanning, Gamble, Shew Among Wildhorn's Civil War Re-Enactors at Ford's Theatre",, March 6, 2009
  7. ^ Gettysburg Welcomes Wildhorn's "New" Civil War Musical, For the Glory. Archived 2010-11-04 at the Wayback Machine, June 15, 2006. Accessed March 13, 2010.
  8. ^ Brantley, Ben. Theatre Review: History Soldiering On The New York Times, April 23, 1999. Retrieved November 19, 2006.

External links[edit]