A Civil War Christmas

By Paula Vogel
Original score by Daryl Waters
Directed by Paul Angelo
Music Directed by Andrew Bray

A collaboration with Staged!

November 22, 2016 – December 23, 2016

Alder Stage

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.

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright
  • Uplifting family excursion
  • NW Premiere

RUN TIME: approximately 2 hours with one 15 minute intermission.
Best-suited for school-age children and up. Children under 5 are not allowed.

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)

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.

Cast and Production Team


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


Paul Angelo *


Paula Vogel


Andrew Bray

Music Director


Scenic Designer: Tim Stapleton

Lighting Designer: Peter West

Costume Designer: Bobby Brewer-Wallin ^

Wig & Hair Designer: Lauren Noyes

Properties Master: Emily Wilken

Movement Choreographer: Kristen Mun

Dramaturg: Luan Schooler

Stage Manager: Jamie Lynne Simons +

Assistant Music Director: Steven Cantor

Assistant Scenic Designer: Samie Pfeifer

Assistant Stage Manager/Production Assistant: Karen M. Hill +

Assistant Stage Manager: Michelle Jazuk +

Production Assistant: Amanda Kishlock

Costumer: Clare Hungate Hawk

Wardrobe: Will Bailey

Live Sound Op: Dave Petersen

+ Member of Actors Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the U.S.

* Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

± Equity Membership Candidate

^ Artists Rep Resident Artist

Production Media




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

“…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." - The New York Times

"Move over Scrooge and make room for Abraham Lincoln." - Variety

"An ambitious, sweeping work." - 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." - Stark Insider


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


NAACP - Portland 

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) – Portland

Black Male Achievement program
Office of Equity and Human Rights
City of Portland

Urban League of Portland

Immigrant & Refugee Community (IRCO)

Resolutions Northwest

Black Lives Matter – Portland

Race Talks – Portland

Latino Network

Basic Rights Oregon


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