The Civil War (musical)
|The Civil War|
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 a Tony Award for Best Musical. Its styles include Gospel, Folk, Country, Rock, and Rhythm and Blues.
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. 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. 
The musical had its world premiere at the Alley Theatre, Houston, Texas, on September 16, 1998, where co-author Boyd is the Artistic Director. 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).
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.
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.
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.
In Spring 2015, Ford's Theatre is debuting a new revision of the musical to highlight the 150 Anniversary of the death of Abe Lincoln and the conclusion of the Civil War. The musical has been re-titled "Freedom's Song", and will star Darren Ritchie and Nova Y. Payton. It runs from March 13 through May 20.
(Note: as presented on Broadway, 1999)
The Variety review of the Alley Theatre production noted 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 evoke the period setting".
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|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|
- The Civil War amazon.com, retrieved January 6, 2010
- World Premieres"Alley Theatre", retrieved January 6, 2010
- Leydon, Joe. "The Civil War", Variety, September 28, 1998 - October 4, 1998, p. 188
- Morris, Terry. "'The Civil War' To Charge Into Downtown Cincy", Dayton Daily News (Ohio), January 16, 2000, p. 2C
- Jones, Kenneth."Emmick, Leggs, Lanning, Gamble, Shew Among Wildhorn's Civil War Re-Enactors at Ford's Theatre", playbill.com, March 6, 2009
- Gettysburg Welcomes Wildhorn's "New" Civil War Musical, For the Glory. Playbill.com, June 15, 2006. Accessed March 13, 2010.
- Brantley, Ben. Theatre Review: History Soldiering On The New York Times, April 23, 1999. Retrieved November 19, 2006.
- Internet Broadway Database listing
- The Civil War production, song list and plot at guidetomusicaltheatre.com
- The Civil War at the Music Theatre International website
- Review, Entertainment Weekly
- Interview with Michael Lanning, (Captain Lochran)