Notre Dame College Travels Back to the 19th Century

Civil War Event

The Notre Dame College theatre program will present a musical production of historic memories unique for the audience and the student actors.

This show is based on Abraham Lincoln’s diary entries and speeches written during The Civil War.

Frank Wildhorn’s musical, The Civil War features multiple Notre Dame students and several community members.

Pierre-Jacques Brault, who is the theatre program’s new artistic director of theatre, and Brian Marshall, who is the new managing director of theater at the college, held auditions last month and “strove to cast to showcase the strengths of our actors, singers and tell the story of The Civil War in the best way we can,”according to Marshall.

This is Brault’s first production for the theatre program.

Marshall said that The Civil War was chosen as the fall production at the Booth Theater in New York, to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

“The musical deals with the unending struggle for human rights, the love of neighbor, ourselves and especially the love of our country,” Marshall said.

The production features Lincoln’s actual words—his letters, speeches and proclamations—as well as dialogue spoken by regular, ordinary Americans who will be experiencing The Civil War.

“One of the most intriguing questions the musical deals with is the question of when you believe God is on your side but so does the other side, who is right? Is anyone?” Marshall asked.

Another feature in the fall production is that “projections and artwork will be used to highlight the impact of the show,” according to Marshall.

“This musical is different from other musicals I’ve done because it’s not a traditional story with a clear beginning, middle and end. And there isn’t any sort of plot,” said Jack Lentz, who is a communication major in the production.

Without a specific story line, the musical does not feature traditional main characters either.

“There aren’t really any heroes or villains. Instead of a traditional script, we have to memorize parts of letters written by Lincoln and deliver them as monologues,” Lentz said.

Miranda Howell, who is a junior, called this show’s music “more modern’ compared to other productions she has performed before. She also said she is excited to have the privilege and challenge of learning a solo for her first time for this musical.

While traveling back in time to experience The Civil War, the audience still will receive a current message, courtesy of Notre Dame’s theater program.

“Lincoln’s words are poignant and still mean so much to the world today,” said Marshall.

Showings for Wildhorn’s musical are Nov. 6-7 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov.8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission; however, admission is free for Notre Dame students. All shows will be held in Regina Auditorium.

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