Let me start this post by saying I was supposed to do a write up for Vive Les Arts Theater here in Killeen a few months ago. I wound up getting strep throat, then school started, etc…etc… So here’s my make-up for them 🙂
All I can say is what a better way to spend a night during President’s Day weekend than going to see a local production of The Civil War.
I’m a history nut, thank you Dad, so when I got a case of the “boreds” Saturday night I decided to buy a ticket for the show. Just so happens I found out one of my co-workers was in the show. To my happy surprise my friend Beverly, whom I had called & left a voice-mail to see if she wanted to join me, was sitting in the lobby waiting to see the show when I arrived. We were able to get seats in the same row, whoohoo, yay for customer service!!
The synopsis on the Broadway Musicals site, linked above, says characters from the time period tell the story of the war in song. The VLA decided to give us only Abraham Lincoln, the other cast members were not given specific roles other than to convey thru song & words the impact the war had on those who lived at the time.
The show began with 2 numbers by The Men: Brother My Brother & By The Sword/Sons of Dixie. With old photos in rotation on 2 screens on either side of the stage, it set the tone for the show, reverence for a time we’ll never know. While the quality of the songs & those who sang them throughout the night my attention was grabbed by the following numbers.
First Missing You (My Bill) sung by Kathryn Quirk. Not only did she sing superbly sweet, but my inner tv geek was tapped here. For those of you who know of True Blood on HBO the main vamp character is named William “Bill” Compton and was turned when coming back from fighting in the Civil War.
My emotional side was triggered during Tell My Father. Mmm mmm, yeah the tears started to trickle here. The next 2 songs that got my blood flowing right there in the middle of the show: I Never Knew His Name & River Jordan. Tonya Miller sang the h*** out of I Never Knew His Name. Her clarity of voice was beautiful, one of the best songs that night. Charles Reid had everyone clapping like they were at church during River Jordan, a rousing gospel-like number. I dare say some stood for this, but I was sitting in front & Mr. Reid had my full attention so I couldn’t tell you for sure.
After intermission a playful tune Old Gray Coat by Bill Selby & The Men got everyone smiling. Paul Q-Pek sang Sarah. As I listened to him sing I closed my eyes for a few moments and could see in my head & hear Adam Pascal, who played Roger in RENT. Hmmm, could it happen here in Killeen, a production of RENT, one can dream can’t they. If they do I’ll be front row, no question.
The show ended with For The Glory. I gotta tell ya I just went & looked up the lyrics, reading over them makes me tear up again. The words ring so true especially living in a military town where it permeates our lives, so many of us take those everyday heroes walking amongst us for granted.
I see The Civil War as a reminder that greatness doesn’t come easy. As we remember the past it’s also a celebration of those leaders, great or not, whichever your opinion may be, the groundwork & paths they laid for us in hopes that we make the most & best of them.
“For the glory
For the men who’ve gone before
For the men who will come after
We will wage this bloody war
For the glory
For the truth we hold so dear
Let us give the last full measure
Gathered here …
For the glory!”