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History dinner theater to present Civil War espionage story |
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History dinner theater to present Civil War espionage story

Shirley McMarlin
“Civil War Espionage” is the title of the Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery’s next history dinner theater, set for March 15 at Saint Vincent College, Unity. Here, Pat Jordan portrays Louisa May Alcott during a 2016 dinner theater.

“Civil War Espionage” is the title of the Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery’s next history dinner theater, set for 6 p.m. March 15 in the Fred M. Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College, Unity.

The production will tell the story of Elizabeth Van Lew — daughter of John Van Lew, a wealthy hardware merchant in Richmond, Va. — and Mary Elizabeth Bowser, a slave owned by Van Lew.

Upon Van Lew’s death, Elizabeth and her mother Eliza freed all of his slaves. When the Civil War began, Elizabeth Van Lew asked Bowser to help her in an elaborate spying system she had established in the Confederate capital.

“Despite Elizabeth being a staunch abolitionist with a fierce loyalty to the Union, she was a prominent member of the Richmond community, thanks to her father’s wealth and status,” according to information from the McCarl gallery. “However, her actions —namely aiding imprisoned Union soldiers with food and medicine — earned her the enmity of the Richmond community. She would then use this to her advantage, taking on a slightly crazy, muttering and slovenly persona that earned her the nickname ‘Crazy Bet,’ in order to cover up her serious efforts to help the Union.”

Tickets are $65, $35 for students and $25 for children. Dinner choices are seasoned seared salmon or sliced roast beef tenderloin with Cabernet wine reduction.

Registration closes on March 11.

Details: 724-805-2188 or

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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