THE WAR DEPT
PRIVATE WILLIAM T. CLARKE
War Department clerk, male, white, 20's. Brilliant 'boy wonder', a loner with a photographic memory for names, records, dates, facts, and quotations from literature and history that is almost, or maybe is in fact, supernatural. Eccentric in both manner and speech, he is vulnerable and at the same time powerful, imposing, sometimes frighteningly so. He was a fighting soldier early in the war before being sent to Washington for his unique value as a back-office record-keeper.
Head of the Office of Missing Soldiers, female, white, 40s. The historical figure who fought her way onto the battlefields of the Civil War as a nurse, later setting up the Office of Missing Soldiers, and eventually, the American chapter of The Red Cross. She is an imperious and ambitious woman with a deep “anger management” problem coupled with a bottomless disdain for authority. She needs danger to be content. She applies or defies convention, adopts or breaks rules as needed to get what she wants. Hypo-manic, she is able to work tirelessly for weeks, months, or even years on end, but can also collapse into prolonged periods of profound, dysfunctional depression. Intelligent and forceful, she gets what she wants, making more enemies than friends along the way.
WILLIAM T. FRIEDMAN
Former slave and Union Army veteran, male, black, late 30s. Small, quiet, and dignified, he has used his poise, wit and brains to survive the violent life he has been handed. Having taught himself to read and write, he is well spoken, well read, and extremely well educated. He taught himself well. He is a master of quotations and little-known facts who finds a kindred spirit in William T. Clarke.
SALLY T. JONES
War widow and mother of four sons lost in the war, female, white, 40s, a farm woman hardened (and strengthened) by harsh years of poverty in Jones County, Mississippi. A southerner who never owned a slave but toiled like one herself for her entire life. Uneducated but resourceful, illiterate but with great native intelligence, she is apolitical and profoundly embittered by the many cruel calamities brought to her by the war.
Former slave girl posing as a man, female, black, 20s. A victim of every possible form of abuse as a slave, she disguised herself as a man to escape slavery, join the Union Army and fight in the war. She has developed great fortitude and tremendous physical strength from her harsh existence. Unusually tall and thin, she has blue eyes as the progeny of a slave woman and a slave master, and appears other-worldly. She continues disguising herself as a man after the war as a practical matter of survival. By nature and necessity she has learned to be careful, guarded, soft-spoken and taciturn, but can explode with extreme violence. Her physical prowess makes her dangerous.
ROBERT TODD LINCOLN
The President's son, male, white, 20s. A modest, thoughtful young man grieving for his father who carries the burden of his family and the entire country's loss, struggling to make sense of his father's assassination and the chaos and failure of a Reconstruction his father was to have guided. Clarke’s empathetic and special friend.
CLERKS PAYNE AND CLEARY
Both male, white, any age under 50. Two war veterans and now War Department clerks, one from the south who fought for the Confederates, one from the north who fought for the Union. Both are disdainful toward but also afraid of Clarke, and hostile to the visitors, particularly the former slaves Friedman and Sam.
TWO OTHER CLERKS:
both women (playing men)
THE WHITE CITY
LUCY (LUCILLE) CODY
Gritty, belty soprano/mixer; Late teens/early 20s: a sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West; Soft southwestern accent/lilt; Usually played by someone on the smaller side- must be Caucasian or be able to feasibly pass for Caucasian in 1893 Chicago. Would prefer the later, but it’s not a big deal.
BILL (WILLIAM F.) CODY
Dirty, gritty bass; 50s-60s: leader of 'Buffalo Bill’s Wild West'; Heavy southwestern accent, can flip to a more “proper” speech pattern; Caucasian
Dirty, gritty baritone/bass; 60-80 something: an old, toothless cowboy; Heavy southwestern accent; Any ethnicity
Deep, soulful baritenor; 25-35: a large, intimidating cowboy; Heavy southern dialect; African American
Baritenor; 25-35: a large, intimidating gaucho; Spanish accent (northern Mexican);Latino
'My voice just changed' tenor; Mid-late teens: an animal handler; Southwestern or regionally specific dialect; Preferably Native American, but could also be Asian with some easy
Tenor; Mid 20s: a Columbian Guard; Caucasian
HENRY H. HOLMES
Baritenor; 35-45: physician and owner of the shop and hotel at Wallace and 63rd; Caucasian
Alto; Mid 30s: first wife of HENRY, insane and mute after a failed arsenic poisoning; Caucasian
Soprano; Late 20s: second wife of HENRY; Caucasian
Soprano; Mid 20s: third wife of HENRY, a Chicago celebrity and socialite; Caucasian