WANTED! Meet The Real-Life Bandits of THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM's Natchez Trace
The Roundabout Theatre Company's rowdy and sexy revival of Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman's bluegrass musical comedy THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM takes place on the most dangerous patch of l8th Century Mississippi land, the Natchez Trace, a southern trade route that was often teeming with thieves.
That's why patrons are greeted at the lobby with vintage-style WANTED posters, just to offer a quick rundown of its brutal history.
The title character, a saintly man by day who robs his unsuspecting victims with a face stained with berry juice, was inspired by the cutthroat Joseph Thompson Hare.
The musical's comical due, Big Harp and Little Harp, were actually America's first serial killers, murdering up to 40 people throughout Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois,. Big Harp was beheaded in 1799 when a husband avenged the murder of his wife and child. The man left Harp's head on a pole in Kentucky, where the crossroads become known as "Harpe's Head." Little Harp's head soon followed to be displayed as a warning on the Natchez Trace.
A former Revolutionary War captain, pirate Samuel Mason would leave a message after each of his murders, often written in his victim's blood, declaring, "Done by Mason of the Woods."
The circumstances behind the death of explorer Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark) were never confirmed. Some conclude suicide, others say it was robbers along the Natchez Trace.
The first-ever New York revival of Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman's musical comedy THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOMis currently playing at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (111 West 46th Street). This will be a limited engagement through May 29, 2016.
Wildly inventive and deliciously entertaining, THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM is a raucous, hilarious, sexy theatrical gem with an irresistibly catchy bluegrass score. Based on the short story by beloved Southern writer Eudora Welty,THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM transports the audience to the Natchez Trace in Mississippi, a dangerous and mysterious corner of the country teeming with a rogue's gallery of the most beguiling con men, hucksters, and charlatans you'll ever meet. Chief among them, Jamie Lockhart (Pasquale)-fair-faced gentleman by day, hard-hearted bandit of the woods by night. When he falls for the beautiful daughter of a wealthy planter, his world and code of ethics are turned upside down. A Southern-fried celebration of American myth-making as well as the art of making theatre, THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM is an irreverent, thrilling, jubilant musical comedy pulsing with life and imagination.