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Civil War celebrations in Western Pa. end 150th observances

| Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Bernadette Kazmarski
Re-enactors will be part of the attractions at the Civil War History Day at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Museum in Carnegie.

Two full-scale productions and a flurry of special events will mark the end of the 150th anniversary observance of the American Civil War.

Begun April 12, 1861, the conflict ended four years later when Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Va., on April 9, 1865.

‘The Civil War'

The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Museum in Carnegie will culminate its months-long look at the war from April 10 to 12 with three performances of the musical “The Civil War.”

Although Carnegie Music Hall has long hosted productions by companies such as The Savoyards and Stage 62, this is the first production financed and staged by the Library & Museum.

The musical, which debuted on Broadway in 1999, wraps Frank Wildhorn's score around fictionalized diary entries, letters and firsthand accounts from ordinary mid-19th-century citizens, as well as historical writings from President Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglas and Walt Whitman.

Steven Santa, who directed “The Producers” and “Avenue Q” for Stage 62, has cast 50 area singers and actors who will personify the events and effects of the war.

“The Civil War” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. April 10 and 11 and 2 p.m. April 12. Admission is $30, $25 in advance.

Details: 412-276-3456 or carnegiecarnegie.org

Civil War History Day

The Library & Museum's Civil War History Day on April 11 will feature tours of the Capt. Thomas Espy Post 153 of The Grand Army of the Republic and invite visitors to view the ongoing gallery displays of 100 photos of the 16th president of the United States in its Lincoln Gallery and its Museum of Civil War Images in the Library.

The documentary “Honor Answers Honor” will have continuous showings in the Library.

Also planned are re-enators drilling and camping on the Music Hall Lawn and tours of the gravesite of 122 Civil War veterans in Chartiers Cemetery on a shuttle at 10:30 a.m. and 12:15 and 1:45 p.m.

A trio of speakers will discuss topics that include surrender, the legacy of soldier voting and the Battle of Five Forks.

The free Civil War History Day events will run from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. April 11 at 300 Beechwood Ave., Carnegie. Details: 412-276-3456 or carnegiecarnegie.org

‘Our American Cousin'

Carlow University Theatre in conjunction with the Ninth Pennsylvania Reserves will honor another nation-shaking event that took place five days after the Civil War's conclusion.

On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., while the leader was watching a stage production of the comedy “Our American Cousin.”

Students, faculty, staff and community theater veterans will stage the play with a cast of 19 who will attempt to re-create the period and spirit of the play as accurately as possible, right down to the audience's reactions.

Proceeds benefit the Chartiers Cemetery Civil War & World War I Headstone Restoration Project.

An assortment of activities will begin at 6:45 p.m. before the 8 p.m. performances.

Included are Civil War re-enactors who will have an encampment near Antonian Hall and a display of Civil War photographs and background information on the play, Ford's Theater and other historic matters. There will be a talk about the Missing Soldiers Office given by a Clara Barton re-enactor.

At 6:45 p.m. April 10 to 12 and at 12:30 p.m. April 11 and 12, there will be demonstrations of Civil War weapons and presentations on Civil War and Lincoln-related photography and on President Lincoln.

There is no additional charge for any of the activities and presentations.

Performances are at 8 p.m. April 14 to 18 and 2 p.m. April 18 and 19 in the Rosemary Heyl Theatre in Antonian Hall on the Carlow University campus, 3333 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Admission is $20 to $40, $15 to $35 for students.

Details: 412-578-8749 or ouramericancousincutg.wordpress.com

Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808, acarter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ATCarter_Trib.

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