11th Hour Theatre Company Showcases Musical In Development SOMETHING LIKE A WAR
11th Hour Theatre Company is welcoming audiences into the development process of its next musical comission. The company is presenting a concert performance of the commissioned brand-new Civil War musical, Something Like A War with Music and Lyrics by Jake Blouch and a Book by Jesse Bernstein. The concert is directed by Jerrell L. Henderson and Dan Kazemi is the Music Director. The concert will be May 17-19 at The Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake, 341 South Hicks Street. These performances are Pay What You Decide. Reservations can be made at www.11thhourtheatrecompany.org or by phone at 267-987-9865.
"Something like a War is a gem of a musical. It's premise is unassumingly quaint. Yet the major themes running underneath this seemingly quaint story are not just provocative, they're explosive. It's written by a team of daring writers and composers and will be delivered by a powerhouse cast. I can't wait for Philly to see it. Even in development, conversations regarding race, social stays, and economics in our city will never be the same," said Henderson.
In this contemporary folk musical, a Tennessee town that was rocked by the Civil War pins its hopes on a friendly game of baseball played by recently-returned soldiers of both armies. But when ex-Confederates discover they'll be playing on the same team as a newly-freed slave, the tensions that boil over threaten to make the new peace more dangerous than the war ever was. This new musical, is being developed with the help of The Independence Foundations New Theatre Works Initiative.
The cast includes: Jake Blouch, Nicholas Pontrelli, Brett Robinson, Brittany Wit Martin, Kim Carson, Peter Schmitz , Tim Hill, Bryan Black, Chase Byrd, Adam Hoyak, JJ Vavrik, and Aaron Bell. Cara Franz is the Stage Manager.
About three years ago, Blouch was approached by 11th Hour about this piece he was working on. Blouch participated in a Musical Theatre Lab the company was running. 11th Hour then connected him to Bernstein. The theatre provided the resources for a dramaturg and a number of workshops. The staff has also been involved in providing feedback and resources for a number of research trips and writers retreats.
For Blouch, this project expanded on his interest in the Civil War. He said, "I've always been fascinated by the Civil War and how it continues to shape American life. It played a massive part in the popularization of baseball. Just sort of researching how these two things intersected lead me to be interested in creating a story, dealing largely with the massive divisions we see in American life today, about who gets to make the rules for the systems that impact our lives."
He adds, "I was aware of the topics of the Civil War and Baseball history sort of independently. Starting to think of the in tandem, and how we're really still fighting the Civil War, lead me to want to write something that used a baseball game as a microcosm for American life."
Bernstein adds, "It'll be a unique opportunity to see a show just before its final iteration. It's kind of like spring training in baseball: you'll get to see a breadth of material, talent and ideas as the creative team puts together its final "roster". It'll also be an opportunity for the audience to show us (through their reactions and feedback) what's working. They can expect a show that is challenging, entertaining, and chock-full of ideas and songs."