The Ballad of Black Jack makes its Theatre Lawrence debut on September 10th with live performances running through September 19th and streamed performances being offered through September 26. The historical play depicting pre-civil war events in Douglas County will open the 2021-22 season, and will coincide with special John Brown exhibits at the Watkins Community Museum.
The late Baldwin City playwright and composer Don Mueller wrote The Ballad in 1970 for the town’s centennial celebration. It proved to be very popular and was performed annually as part of the Baldwin City Maple Leaf Festival for many years. It has since bee performed in 1986 as the opening production of the newly-remodeled Liberty Hall in Lawrence, and then after a long hiatus it was brought back to the Maple Leaf Festival in 2001 for five years, and in Lawrence in 2006 and 2007 as part of the Civil War on the Western Frontier activities. After a 14 year absence, The Ballad will take the stage once again, in a version slightly abridged by Genée Figuieras.
The Ballad of Black Jack production is based around the pro-slavery vs. free-state tensions in Douglas County which culminated in the Battle of Black Jack in 1856 near present-day Baldwin City and features familiar historical characters including John Brown (Jim Tuchscherer). In addition to the pre-civil war unease, there is a love story, and comedy from the playwright’s pen, as well as 15 original musical numbers.
The large cast includes Benjamin Berlin, Owen Bӧrk, Tony Console,
Charles Decedue, Olivia Evans, Genée Figuieras, Jazzlyn Fowler,
Spencer Greenwood, Ryan Hamlin, Blaire Helgeson, Madelynn Knisley,
Anna Kober, Barry Landon, Blythe Landon, Kelly Schellman, Thomas Sikes,
Scott Spacek, Melissa Story, Malachi Swedberg, Jim Tuchscherer,
and Jeremy Willmoth.
Directed by Laurie VanderPol. Music Direction by Susan Hash-Hires.
Assistant Directed by Genée Figuieras. Stage Managed by Kathi Killman.
Set and Lighting Design by James Diemer. Sound Design by Bob Newton.
Costuming by Jane Pennington. Props by Marilyn Brobst.
SEPTEMBER 10 – 26
Live Performances: September 10, 11, 12* and 16, 17, 18, 19*
Streamed Performances: September 16-19 and 24-26
Evening Performances at 7:30 PM | *Matinee Performances at 2:30 PM