STORMING HEAVEN: New Musical Based On West Virginia Novel Receives Staged Reading In Morgantown
West Virginia Public Theatre (WVPT) is collaborating with New York City composers, country music artist Tracy Lawrence, and West Virginia author Denise Giardina to develop Storming Heaven: The Musical. Their work will conclude with a staged reading of the musical at 7:30pm on Saturday, January 19 in the Gladys G. Davis Theatre (WVU Creative Arts Center) in Morgantown. This is a non-ticketed event, free, and open to the public.
Based on Giardina's W.D. Weatherford Award winning novel, Storming Heaven is a fictionalized account of the labor strike in southern West Virginia coal mines and the Battle of Blair Mountain. The musical is set in a 1920s West Virginia town where the coal company steals everything, including the souls of its miners. Within this tumultuous and precarious world, we meet five people whose lives are irrevocably changed by the events surrounding them.
At the core is Carrie Bishop, the mine doctor's nurse and sister of the mine superintendent, who finds herself unwittingly in the middle of a love triangle with Albion Freeman, her husband and preacher to the miners, and Rondal Lloyd, a charismatic Union organizer. Carrie's journey of self-discovery - a woman at the turn of the twentieth century struggling to find her own identity and power - parallels the miners' struggle for basic human rights.
Originally from Bluefield, West Virginia, Denise Giardina is a multi-award winning author best known for writing about life in Appalachia. Both Storming Heaven and its sequel, The Unquiet Earth, are centered on the politics and humanity surrounding the West Virginia coalfields in the 20th century.
The novel was adapted into a musical by Katy Blake and Peter Davenport, with additional music by Flip Anderson and Tracy Lawrence. The workshop is directed by WVPT Artistic Director Jerry McGonigle, music directed by Emily Otto, and features performances by a mixture of local talent and guest artists from New York City and Pittsburgh.
Find out more by following West Virginia Public Theatre at www.wvpublictheatre.org.