Complementing the free matinee performance will be a Q & A session about the musical’s themes, art about the Underground Railroad, video, and students’ written compositions.
BANGOR – Coming straight from off-Broadway to the Gracie Theatre is the award-winning musical “Cross That River.” It’s the story of a runaway slave who became a Black cowboy. The cast features renowned jazz composer Allan Harris and five other exceptional performers. The musical, based on real-life events, will have two performances. The first will be an abbreviated 50-minute version at the Gracie Theatre on Friday, Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. for the Husson campus community. The second performance of the full two-act musical will take place at 7 p.m. at the same location and is open to the public.
“Greater Bangor area residents love musicals and we’re excited to present a musical that helps kick off Black History Month on our campus! The musical brings a little known aspect of our country’s history to life. With a range of musical styles, this show offers something to fans of every musical style,” said Jeri Misler, managing artistic director of the Gracie Theatre.
“Cross That River” combines a variety of elements drawn from American indigenous musical genres, including jazz, country and folk music. Besides being historical and educational, the musical is both extremely moving and entertaining.
In this story, the unsettled West of the 1860s provides a new life and new dreams for Blue, a runaway slave from Louisiana. He escapes from slavery to Texas to become one of America’s first Black cowboys. With every song of this musical’s highly infectious score, the audience is moved further along Blue’s harrowing journey, including his crossing of the Sabine River to freedom in the Wild West. Each song tells a unique story. Sometimes those stories are joyful, while others are tragic. On balance, the musical serves as a poignant chronicle of enduring perseverance.
In addition to being entertaining, the 1 p.m. matinee performance offers members of the Husson campus community a valuable educational experience. Following the performance, the University’s Professor of History Dr. David Haus will be leading a question and answer session about the musical’s themes.
In addition, Kathi Smith, an associate professor of art in the University’s College of Science and Humanities is working together with Librarian Shelly Davis to create an artistic display in the library that highlights the play’s themes. Student art in this display will focus on the Underground Railroad and other content available in the library from this historical period.
Dr. Maria Cahill, an associate professor of English, will be sharing some written student compositions about subjects related to Black History Month in the Darling Atrium (also known as the lobby of the Gracie Theatre) prior to the 1 p.m. performance. Dr. Haus has also arranged for a video with relevant content to be playing during the daytime and evening performances. This recorded presentation will further enhance the audience’s introduction to the play’s themes.
Tickets for the performance of the full two-act version of “Cross That River” at 7 p.m. are just $23.50 to $34.50 and can be purchased by calling the Gracie Theatre Box Office at 207-941-7888. They can also be purchased on the theatre’s website at GracieTheatre.com.
No tickets are required for the 1 p.m. matinee performance. It is free for members of the Husson University campus community.
The Gracie’s season is made possible with support from Bangor Savings Bank. The theatre also gratefully acknowledges the generous support provided throughout the season by additional show sponsors including Downeast Toyota, Governor’s Restaurant and Bakery, the Mimi Foundation, and Pepsi.
Completed in October of 2009, The Gracie is Husson University’s center for the fine and performing arts. This beautiful 500-seat theatre is considered one of Maine’s premier performance venues. In addition, The Gracie also serves as a learning platform for students from the New England School of Communications in digital audio, sound mixing, set design and construction, lighting, acting and electronics.
For more than 120 years, Husson University has shown its adaptability and strength in delivering educational programs that prepare future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent a superior value in higher education. The hallmarks of a Husson education include advanced knowledge delivered through quality educational programs in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. According to an analysis of tuition and fees by U.S. News & World Report, Husson University is one of the most affordable private colleges in New England. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.