The first show of this season’s Center Stage performing arts series opens on Saturday, Oct. 15, at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset with Barter Theatre’s new musical, “Civil War Voices.”
On tour by one of the nation’s oldest, professional non-profit theatres, “Civil War Voices” takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. in The Center’s theatre for a special night of music and inspirational true stories shared by people who lived through one of the nation’s greatest conflicts.
This moving musical theatre production brings the Civil War back to life through their compelling words, transforming them into songs to portray the adversity of the time period.
“Civil War Voices” is the first of five shows presented this season by Lake Cumberland Performing Arts in partnership with The Center as part of the 2011-2012 Center Stage series.
“The history of the Civil War has never been presented so creatively as in this production,” Dianna Winstead, associate director of arts, culture, and events for The Center, said. “In this musical play, Barter Theatre tells the stories of five individuals and their personal sacrifices and struggles during the war.”
“Civil War Voices,” written by James R. Harris and featuring musical arrangements by Mark Hayes, shines a light on the faces of the Civil War and chronicles the effects that the war had on their lives.
Harris, who discovered the diary of his great-great uncle kept during the Civil War, drew inspiration from the writing and other personal recollections of the War Between the States.
“I have tried to capture the real people, the real songs, and ultimately the real heart of a country divided,” he said. “These are stories you will not find in history books.”
In “Civil War Voices,” 10 actors play multiple characters as they tell the real-life stories of a young couple separated by war, a freed slave serving as a dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln, and a young professor-turned lieutenant.
Songs like “Amazing Grace,” “Dixie,” “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel,” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” all are woven into the story.
Prior to “Civil War Voices,” the Tom Taksa Trio, featuring Taksa on saxophone, Brenda Jones on piano, and Maurice Stringer on guitar, will present a selection of historical music at a pre-show event from 6-7 p.m. in The Center’s lobby.
An optional catered dinner will be served by Sully’s Restaurant. The cost of the dinner is $7 for adults and $3.50 for children 12 and younger.
The pre-show event is sponsored by Clear Channel Lake Cumberland and Sully’s.
For more information or to purchase individual tickets or season subscription packages to any of the upcoming Center Stage performances, contact The Center’s Box Office at 606-677-6000 or order tickets online.
The Box Office is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at The Center, located at 2292 South U.S. 27 (at Traffic Light 15) in Somerset, or 30 minutes prior to the start of each scheduled performance.
The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, provides operating support to Lake Cumberland Performing Arts with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
These performances are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and Kentucky Arts Council.
The next Center Stage performance is “Mooseltoe: A New Moosical,” a sparkling holiday production with 16 unforgettable costumed characters, on Saturday, Dec. 3, starting with a special 3 p.m. matinee, followed by a 7:30 p.m. show at The Center.