Gettysburg Community Theatre presents CIVIL WAR VOICES

Gettysburg Community Theatre presents CIVIL WAR VOICESGettysburg Community Theatre, the non-profit 501c3 organization located in the original Elks Lodge building at 49 York Street within the first block of Lincoln Square in historic downtown Gettysburg, will present Civil War Voices weekends July 14-30, 2017.

This 'first time fully staged in Gettysburg musical' will feature a cast of local singer/actors along with music direction from Vanessa Rice who will also accompany at the Piano with Linda Winters on Violin. Under the stage direction of local professor and theatre director/performer George Muschamp, and choreographed by Marilyn Lopes, Civil War Voices is tender and intimate and tells the true stories of five individuals, including a pair of separated lovers from Texas, a freed slave employed by Mary Todd Lincoln at The White House, and a Northern teacher who decides to fight for his country and then became a national war hero at the battle of Gettysburg, and accepted the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. The play, written by James R. Harris and featuring musical arrangements by Mark Hayes, chronicles the effect that the war had on their lives.

"I have tried to capture the real people, the real songs, and ultimately the real heart of a country divided," Harris says. "These are stories you will not find in history books."

Harris started working on the project many years ago when he found a diary from his great-great uncle, who wrote about the war. He began giving talks about the diary, ending with a plea for reconciliation, healing and forgiveness. Later, he added in music from the Civil War period as he read the final diary entry. When Harris looked up, he saw that several audience members had been moved to tears. That gave him the idea to combine true stories of the Civil War with original arrangements of songs from the period. By using actual letters, diaries and memoirs, Harris put together the stories of five people from across the country on both sides of the war.

The composer chosen to arrange the music is Mark Hayes, an award-winning concert pianist who has more than 700 published works to his credit. He is a recurring recipient of the Standard Award from ASCAP, the American Society for Composers, Authors & Publishers and also won the Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association.

Songs in the production include "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Amazing Grace," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child."

Civil War Voices premiered at the 2010 Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City, where it was presented the Best Production of a Musical award. It has now been published, and Gettysburg Community Theatre is proud to produce a fully staged production of this script for its first time here in Gettysburg, after many productions across the country including Savannah, Georgia, Virginia's Barter Theatre, Orlando, Florida, Lincoln, Nebraska, and a national tour.

The cast features Shane Miller as Joseph Lawrence Chamberlain, D. Scott Hartwig as Abe Lincoln, General Hunt, and other characters, Steve Huete as General Robert E. Lee and other characters, Ed Gobrecht as Governor Washburn and other characters, Barbara Dempsey-West as Mary Todd Lincoln, Rebecca Bowman and Carmen Ray as Elizabeth Keckley, Michaela Odian as Harriet Perry, Ian Kress as Theo Perry, Patty Price as Cornelia Harris, Michael Krikorian narrates the play, with Jim O'Dell, Kevin Foster, Linden Carbaugh, Max Carlson, Parker Schroeder and Grayson Wallace rounding out the ensemble cast.

Civil War Voices will perform at GCT weekends July 14-30, 2017 Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm and Saturdays and Sunday matinees at 2pm. $18 plus tax/fees reserved seating tickets are available in advance online or via phone or at the door if seats are available in GCT's very intimate 80 seat blackbox theatre. As always at GCT, the lemonade, water, coffee, popcorn, and air conditioning is all complimentary. GCT is located at 49 York Street within the first block of Lincoln Square in historic downtown Gettysburg in the building that was once The Elks Lodge. GCT box office phone number is 717-334-2692. Audition, ticket, educational, donation, volunteer opportunities and more can be found online at www.GettysburgCommunityTheatre.org

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