With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War upon us, two sisters bring their own family story of charm, humor and even stubbornness to life on the Kennedy stage in A Field of Glory. Playwright Sharon Talbot* will star in the production she wrote, while her sister, Tony Award© nominated Director/Choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett (Swing!) will direct the show for Hot Summer Nights.
A Field of Glory chronicles a day in the life of Talbot and Taylor-Corbett's great-great grandmother, Rosalia (Sharon Talbot). Rosalia is a Southern mother, who has been reunited with her Confederate soldier son, John (Jesse Janowsky). The teenager takes a break from battle and decides to pay his mother a surprise visit back on the plantation where he was raised. The passionate teen acts out his important role in the war, which shows the true generation gap between mother and son. While the show is set during a dramatic time in America, the play itself is really about the hilarious relationship between Rosalia and John, two headstrong, loving and quirky Southerners who, after six months of battle, have managed to keep their sense of humor.
A Field of Glory showcased in NYC in January 2010 and is now premiering at Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy July 20-31. Taylor-Corbett admits it was hard to pass up directing a story about your own family. But something gave this story more heart on top of the sibling bond to Talbot. "As I sat through the read-through and the unexpected twists and turns of A Field of Glory, I laughed and then, quite unexpectedly cried (and I'm not an easy audience)," she said. Taylor-Corbett added, " I left feeling full, feeling that I had learned a great deal and determined that the play be seen. When my colleague, the great Broadway Designer William Ivey Long, saw the showcase I directed some months later, he became a great supporter. He is a very distant relative and the story spoke deeply to him. We both hoped we would find a producer who would carry the work forward--enter Alan Campbell* (who did Dracula for me at The Carolina Ballet) and Lauren Kennedy*!"
For Talbot, writing the play was the best way to keep the spirit of her family alive and who better to collaborate with than your own sister. "Southern families keep detailed records of lineage and I'd heard about John and Rosalia my whole life," she said. Talbot continues, "One day a couple of years ago, it hit me that telling their story would honor them and would honor all mothers and sons everywhere who, despite the anguish of war, manage to keep their sense of humor...and sisterhood makes Lynne one of few who'd put up with me. Blood is thicker than laser toner," says Talbot.
Taylor-Corbett has assembled a talented production team to bring the show to life. Tiffany Owle (Production Stage Manager), Chris Bernier (Set/Light Design), Will Mikes (Sound Design), Richard Young (Props), A. Christina Giannini (Costumes), Amy Wright (ASM) and Jim Dadosky (AD).
Following A Field of Glory (July 20-31) is Violet (August 17-28) starring Lauren Kennedy. Performances run Wednesday-Saturday at 8PM. Sunday matinees are at 3PM. Shows take place at the Kennedy Theatre inside the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh. The season closes with a special concert presentation of Oh, What a Night! at the Fletcher Opera Theatre in the PECPA (August 31 & September 1) and at the Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre at Barton College (September 3 & 4). Tickets are $22.00 for general admission and $18 for senior adults, students and military (with ID). Show tickets can be purchased by calling 866-811-4111 or online through the Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy website: www.hotsummernightsatthekennedy.org.
*Denotes actors appear courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.