A Civil War Christmas
A NW Premiere

A Civil War Christmas

November 22 - December 26, 2016
Alder Stage

By Paula Vogel
Original score by Daryl Waters
Directed by Paul Angelo
Music Directed by Andrew Bray
A collaboration with Staged!

Set during a time when the country is divided by conflicting ideologies and convictions following a contentious presidential election, Vogel’s sweeping, music-rich story plays out one frigid Christmas Eve on the banks of the Potomac River. Amid the hubbub of holiday preparations, an array of abolitionists and assassins, slaves and freemen, Union and Confederate soldiers, along with President Lincoln and Mary Todd, all pursue their paths to liberation.

Propelled by traditional American songs, marches and spirituals — all revitalized for this production by luminary Portland musicians — A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS is a lively reminder for people of all beliefs about humanity’s potential for compassion, reconciliation and hope.

By special permission, our production features the new and stylistically diverse arrangements of luminary Portland musicians Darrell Grant, Holcombe Waller, Mark and LaRhonda Steele, Okaidja Afroso, Edna Vázquez, James Beaton and Brian Adrian Koch of Blitzen Trapper. Click HERE to see a full song list of the newly arranged compositions of the period songs in the play.

These Makers from Art Design Portland (ADX) and Portland Apparel Lab (PAL) created pieces for A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS:

Dawn Moothart, Textile Artist, Portland Apparel Lab (fabric backdrop and sliding curtains)
Thomas Phillips, ADX Director of Fabrication (Piano/Harp)
Bill Wessinger, ADX Fabrication Technician (Piano/Harp)
Rio Wrenn, Textile Artist, RAW Textiles, (fabric backdrop and sliding curtains)

Dmae Roberts, Stage and Studio, KBOO radio interviews cast members Ayanna Berkshire, Susannah Mars and John San Nicolas

Education Resources
STUDY GUIDE! A great resource for all. Click here to download.

Recommended Reading
Albina Community Plan:
The History of Portland’s African American Community

150 Years After Fort Sumpter: Why
We’re Still Fighting the Civil War
By David Von Drehle
Time Magazine, April 7, 2011

Did the Civil War Ever End?
By Ted Widmer
New York Times, June 4, 2015

Looking Back In Order to Move Forward
An Often Untold History Affecting Oregon’s Past,
Present and Future Timeline of Oregon and
U.S. Racial, Immigration and Education History
Compiled by Elaine Rector as part of Coaching for Educational Equity

A Letter to My Son
Adapted from Between The World And Me by Ta-Neshisi Coates
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Atlantic Magazine, July 4, 2015

What Does It Mean to Be White?
Developing White Racial Literacy
By Robin DiAngelo PhD
Seattle Times, August 11, 2014

What Whiteness Means in the Trump Era
By Nell Irvin Painter
New York Times, November 12, 2016

Fresh Eyes
Check out the blog posts from our Fresh Eyes team Brennan Randel, Matthew Corwin, and Daniel Pollack-Pelzner who have been on the journey with us making this unique production HERE. Our Fresh Eyes program brings ‘civilians’ into the rehearsal process where they get to see what it takes to bring a play to life first-hand and then they make some fascinating observations about the process.


Alder Stage

1515 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205


“…unlike any holiday or non-holiday show you’ll see, and it is absolutely brilliant.”

Meg Currell, EDGE Media Network

“…buoyed by background music…elements swell gradually into a song, the effect is pure magic.”

A.L. Adams, Oregon ArtsWatch

“This production encompasses a microcosm of the world and, perhaps, humanity, as the stories may be specific but the message of tolerance and acceptance is universal.”

Dennis Sparks, Dennis Sparks Reviews

“Of all the holiday offerings on local-stages, I would dub this one the “must-see” of the bunch.”

Kris Haines, The Crippled Critic

“To create a holiday entertainment grounded in historical fact, Ms. Vogel weaves a complex tapestry of plotlines that include numerous celebrated figures along with several fictional or composite characters.”

Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

“An ambitious, sweeping work.”

Frank Rizzo, Variety

“This is classy theater, told with elegance; it embraces our differences, celebrates this country’s storied past, and weaves a holiday musical celebration that simply should not be missed.”

Clinton Stark, Stark Insider


Ayanna Berkshire
Mrs. Keckley & Ensemble
Jimmy Garcia
Ward Hill Lamon, James Wormley & Ensemble
Amy Hakanson
Val Landrum
John Wilkes Booth, Chester Saunders & Ensemble
Susannah Mars
Mary Todd Lincoln & Ensemble
Crystal Ann Muñoz
Rose & Ensemble
Laila Murphy
John Hay, Anna Surratt & Ensemble
Ted Rooney
Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman & Ensemble
Seth Rue
Willy Mack, Louis Weichmann & Ensemble
John San Nicolas
Mary Surratt, Moses Levy & Ensemble
Vin Shambry
Decatur Bronson, John Surratt & Ensemble
Blake Stone
George Keckley & Ensemble
Kai Tomizawa
Raz & Ensemble
Andrea Vernae
Hannah & Ensemble
Miya Zolkoske
Jessa & Ensemble


Paula Vogel
Paul Angelo
Andrew Bray
Music Director

Production Team

Tim Stapleton
Scenic Designer
Peter West
Lighting Designer
Bobby Brewer-Wallin
Costume Designer
Lauren Noyes
Wig & Hair Designer
Emily Wilken
Properties Master
Kristen Lyn Mei Kuk Mun
Movement Choreographer
Luan Schooler
Jamie Lynne Simons
Stage Manager
Steven Cantor
Assistant Music Director
Samie Pfeifer
Assistant Scenic Designer
Karen M. Hill
Assistant Stage Manger / Production Assistant
Michelle Jazuk
Assistant Stage Manager
Amanda Kishlock
Production Assistant
Will Bailey
Dave Petersen
Live Sound Op



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