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GUN & POWDER at Signature Theatre - World Premiere Musical is Hottest Ticket in Town!

It always exciting to see a world-premiere musical. Right after GUN & POWDER began and my wife and I heard the voices of the superb ensemble, she looked at me and I looked at her and we both said "WOW!" We knew this would be special and it was.

The show was discovered through the SigWorks: Musical theater Lab program in 2017. It was chosen out of 170 submissions to receive a two-week workshop. According to Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. "We knew that we found something special. The American Academy of Arts and Letters agreed, and GUN & POWDER was later awarded the prestigious Richard Rodgers Award..."

This musical has "Broadway" written all over it. Director Robert O'Hara is on Broadway having directed the soon-to-be Tony-nominated SLAVE PLAY. Choreographer Bryon Easley also did SLAVE PLAY as did Costume Designer Dede Ayite. Orchestrator John Clancy has two Tony nominations.

The talented cast includes Broadway veteran Marva Hicks, Emmy Raver-Lampman (Original Broadway cast of HAMILTON), and Donald Webber, Jr. (also from HAMILTON).

The book by Angelica Cheri is loosely based on a true story about light-skinned Blacks in 1893, former cotton pickers (Mary and Martha Clarke (Solea Pfeiffer and Raver-Lampman) who escape cotton picking for a life passing for being White and end up robbing people and banks to send money to their mother, Tallulah Clarke (Marva Hicks) in order to pay off their debts.

Mary ends up marrying a saloon keeper "Jesse" (Dan Tracy) who has no idea of Mary's heritage. A highlight is two of Jesse's maids Flo and Sissy (Awa Sal Secka and Yvetter Monique Clark) who bring terrific comic relief. Another employee of "Jesse" is "Elijah" played by Donald Webber, Jr. who falls in love with "Martha" and has a booming voice.

Well, that's the story. It works on so many levels. Let me start with the terrific music by Ross Baum and lyrics by Cheri. The ensemble is filled with amazing voices. And the lead performers are just superb.

Jason Sherwood has a clever Set Design helped by terrific projections by Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson. The great lighting by Alex Jainchill and bone-chilling Sound by Ryan Hickey add to the enjoyment.

The marvelous ten -piece orchestra is conducted by Darryl G. Ivey and I loved seeing their faces via projections on the set at the end of the play.

Kudos to Kelly Crandall d'Amboise who did the local casting and the Broadway giant Tara Rubin Casting for the New York casting.

I highly recommend you visit SigTheatre.org/GP for videos, interviews, and history about the production.

GUN & POWDER runs until February 23, 2020. Now the problem is the show is SOLD-OUT!!! But do not hesitate to call for cancellations (that's how we got tickets) Call 7030820-9771 or visit 800-982-2787 or hope it does make it to Broadway.

Coming next to Signature is LOOSE WOMEN SMOKING CIGARETTES running Feb. 18 to March 29 in the Ark Theatre.

Then Signature is presenting the Tony-nominated musical MAMMA MIA! not at their Arlington theater but at the Anthem in DC located near Arena Stage. It runs June 25 to July 5, 2020. For tickets, call 800-982-27787. This should be special.

cgshubow@broadwayworld.com


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