Baltimore has a thoroughly thriving theater scene—from the tiniest companies springing up around Station North, to our larger, more established houses, like Center Stage and Everyman. But rarely do we get such a star-studded production as A Civil War Christmas, which opened in previews last week, but has its official opening night this evening. Being called, “a new holiday classic,” Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel’s script weaves together the stories of more than two-dozen characters—spanning race, religion, and class—on Christmas Eve in 1864. All along the Potomac, from the White House to the front lines, figures both historical and fictional find their lives strangely and poetically intertwined. Infused with traditional holiday carols and period folk songs, A Civil War Christmas celebrates the beauty of shared humanity, and thanks to its setting, speaks to our local history.
Besides a script by one of America’s most celebrated living playwrights, the production is directed by OBIE-award winning director Rebecca Taichman, and choreographed by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Liz Lerman. “There is a moment that always happens for me in a Rebecca Taichman production, where I feel my heart does a somersault. It’s extraordinary. And yet, her work is simple and clear and urgent,” says playwright Paula Vogel. “I first began working with Rebecca on a new play that we’re co-creating [Rehearsing Vengeance]. When the opportunity came up to work together here in Maryland, at Center Stage, I thought it would be wonderful.” And it is. Consider us all thankful.
A Civil War Christmas duns through December 22 at Center Stage. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.centerstage.org.