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Rock opera meets Civil War

June 27, 2006|by NICK MOHAR-SCHURZ and SARAH OFOSU

Pulse writers Nick Mohar-Schurz and Sarah Ofosu saw the opening performance of "For the Glory," a Civil War-themed musical that opened recently at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, Pa. Here is their review.




Nick: Upon arrival, the entrance was packed with a mix of tuxedoes and shorts. Everyone seemed excited about the performance, so I grew optimistic about having an urban cast come to this small town.

Sarah: I was ready for a good show; on the way, advertisements lined the roads and storefronts. The town was warm and inviting, and the theater seemed perfect for this performance.

Nick: As soon as the first man began to sing, I felt I was watching a musical version of "Gods and Generals." The set projected enlarged photos against the background, which made it more sentimental. As one character prepares to leave for the army, behind him is an actual photograph of a typical home from that time period. The first character's song was moving and received a booming applause from the Gettysburg audience.

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Sarah: The beginning was moving because the singer conveyed the emotion that truly existed during that time. The set, however, was relatively modern, and seemed out of touch with the historical event they were trying to depict; the relevance between the set and the story was minimal.

Nick: But you have to admit the musical quickly became monotonous. There was no dialogue between the songs, which are only touching if they are not followed by ten more; when back-to-back, they lose their individual significance and power.

Sarah: While the music was never-ending, the costumes made defining the characters difficult. They did not aid in character development or in finding depth in certain roles.

Nick: Yes, I think more than a blue coat and gray coat are needed to prevent confusion among the audience. As only the two generals wore coats, I spent most of the performance figuring out the army to which each singer belonged.

Sarah: I have to agree with you on the blue coat/gray coat criticism. If someone does not know much about the Civil War, the musical, with its lack of dialogue, is difficult to follow.

Nick: Yes, but that's just it: there was nothing to follow. The entire performance is a broad view of the war with no deeper perspectives. If you can simply hear, you will need no additional abilities to grasp the show.

Sarah: The show's goal was to perform musical pieces, so you have to understand its purpose was to stir emotions instead of develop an educational plot. I think the show would do better in Hagerstown, which is not only larger, but equally as interested in the local Civil War battlefield.

Nick: Hagerstown may have more potential in revenue and seating capacity, but the people of Gettysburg gave "Glory" a standing ovation. If Hagerstown residents share my taste, they probably won't have one here. As much as I loved the cast's optimism and down-to-earth personalities backstage, the story itself is not exciting.

Sarah: That's true; the story itself was not that exciting, but the music was decent and the cast was very friendly. In other words, if you do not like musicals, there is no point in going to this one.

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