Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Civil War Christmas

Paula Vogel has penned a historical perspective on an age-old tradition - Christmas.  Her version is a dramatic triptych on the holiday which takes place during the civil war.  Each of the 3 main plot perspectives share equally in the joy and sadness of the historical holiday - smack in the middle of the civil war - Stories from the North, the South, and the always steady Abe and emotionally unstable Mary Lincoln centrally located in the White house.

It's not quite a musical but more of a play with music - but less-so a play and more story-telling theatrical experience. The music was all Christmas carols cleverly placed throughout the scenes.  All the fine actors in full regalia and costumes played multiple characters with little-to-no scenery - merely a few props and chairs upon which the fine actors created an entire landscape and mood.  

Of all the extremely talented actors, the one stand-out performer was Jonathan-David (yes, i correctly hyphenated his "name") as Ely Parker, Silver, Frederick Wormley, Moses Levy and others.  Clearly a trained dancer, a fine improv actor, and vocally impressive.  A stalwart and stubborn Mary Lincoln was played with Aplomb by Alice Ripley.

Having already seen Lincoln (Daniel Day Lewis) on the big screen just the weekend before and seeing this show just before Christmas put me in just the right mood.  I doubt this one would go over very well in August, but certainly a heart-warming, entertaining history-lesson on the small stage down at the New York Theatre Workshop on East 4th.