It’s 1864, and Washington, D.C. is settling down to the coldest Christmas Eve in years. In the White House, President and Mrs. Lincoln plot their gift-giving. On the banks of the Potomac, a young rebel challenges a Union blacksmith’s mercy. In the alleys downtown, an escaped slave loses her daughter just before finding freedom. Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant face Christmas Eve with their troops. This sweeping panorama set in Washington, D.C. at Christmastime, 1864, is comprised of 80 characters played by 16 actors, and interweaves holiday carols, hymns, and folk songs to illuminate one of the darkest and yet most hopeful moments in our country’s history.
Playwright Paula Vogel first received national acclaim for her play The Baltimore Waltz, which won the Obie award for Best Play in 1992. She is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning play How I Learned To Drive (1997). Other notable plays include Desdemona, A Play About A Handkerchief (1979); The Oldest Profession (1981); And Baby Makes Seven (1984); Hot ‘N Throbbing (1994); The Mineola Twins (1996); and The Long Christmas Ride Home (2006). For 20 years she led the graduate playwriting program and new play festival at Brown University and created a nationally recognized center for educational theatre, culminating in the development of the Brown/Trinity Repertory Company Consortium. She left Brown in 2008 to assume her posts as adjunct professor and the Chair of the playwriting department at Yale School of Drama, and the Playwright-in-Residence at Yale Repertory Theatre. She remains playwright in residence at the Yale Repertory Theatre, as well as an artistic associate at Long Wharf Theatre.
A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration is on stage at Main Street Theater’s Chelsea Market Playhouse through December 29th.
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