Collaborative production of “A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration” at Georgetown University Nov. 17-Dec. 8

Staged at GU’s Davis Performing Arts Center, production set in DC includes multimedia dramaturgical lobby display highlighting campus/city ties to story

In a special holiday musical co-production, Georgetown University Theater and Performance Studies Program, Georgetown University Music Program, and Nomadic Theatre present the DC premiere of A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration by Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel, with music by Daryl Waters. Directed by Professor Nadia Mahdi with musical direction by Professor Maureen Codelka, the show runs at the Davis Performing Arts Center’s Gonda Theatre November 17-December 8 (showtimes below) as part of the Theater and Performance Studies Program’s A Season of War and Peace. Set on Christmas Eve in Washington DC, 1864, the production staged on Georgetown’s historic campus bears local significance, and a multimedia lobby exhibit brings together the play’s story with Georgetown history.

A Civil War Christmas combines history and fiction, creating a closer, more intimate look at some of the nation’s most well-known figures, and reflects on one of the most divisive and darkest times of our nation’s history. Vogel weaves together an array of voices and stories, including troops in both Confederate and Union camps preparing for the fighting ahead, President Lincoln embarking on a danger-filled midnight adventure, and a mother and daughter fleeing from slavery towards an uncertain future in the nation’s capital.

The New York Times praised the show for the way its “history lessons and holiday warmth sit cozily alongside each other,” noting “A Civil War Christmas is the rare holiday entertainment that brings intellectual nourishment as much as it entertains.” Director Prof. Nadia Mahdi says, “Part of the play’s success is its ability to walk the fine line between social critique and broad comic style with the benefit of the backwards gaze from our current socio-political moment.”

Dramaturg Prof. Nina Billone Prieur says, “There is something about staging this play here at Georgetown that gives the production a unique resonance. As characters cross the Potomac and move from the Surratt boarding house on H Street to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue to the National Home for Destitute Colored Women and Children near Reservoir Road, they bring to life not only the stage but also the city that surrounds it… During the Civil War, Georgetown College served as a hub where Northern and Southern peoples, cultures, and political allegiances were tested and tried, a history that continues to be remembered in our school colors of blue and gray.”

Showtimes include the following:

Saturday, November 17 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 18 at 2 p.m.
Thursday and Friday, November 29 and 30 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 1 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday, December 6-8 at 8 p.m.


Fri/Sat evening only:
$20 general / $18 faculty, staff, alumni, senior / $10 student


All other performances:
$18 general / $15 faculty, staff, alumni, senior / $8 student

For tickets, visit or call (202) 687-ARTS (2787) Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Georgetown University’s main campus is located at 3700 O St. NW, in Washington, D.C.


“A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration” is the second show in the Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program’s 2012-13 “A Season of War and Peace,” generously supported by C74, at the Davis Performing Arts Center. The season began with a mainstage production of Caryl Churchill’s “Far Away,” and continues with the English language premiere of “Boged: An Enemy of the People” presented in partnership with Theater J (Jan. 12-Feb. 3); Senior Thesis Performances of “wanderland” (Feb. 14-16); and the area premiere of “Trojan Barbie: A Car-Crash Encounter with Euripides’ ‘Trojan Women’” written by new Theater and Performance Studies faculty member Christine Evans (April 11-20).

The Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program, housed in the state-of-the-art Davis Performing Arts Center, features a nationally recognized faculty of leading scholar/artists and professional practitioners, and a dynamic major that emphasizes the interaction of artistic and analytic inquiry. The Program has rapidly attracted significant national attention for its distinctive curriculum, which integrates the political and international character of Georgetown, a commitment to social justice, and high-quality, cutting-edge production seasons, including world premieres.

The Theater & Performance Studies Program provides unique focus on adapting, devising and developing new work, interdisciplinary research-to-performance projects, cross-cultural performance studies, and innovative approaches to design and multi-media, as well as playwriting, directing, dramaturgy, ensemble, solo performance and more.

The Program invests in a distinctive array of professional partnerships and collaborations, including with Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, with a growing focus on global performance and politics, as represented by recent residencies from Baghdad University and Belarus Free Theater, as well as a major International Convening on Global Performance, Civic Imagination and Cultural Diplomacy hosted collaboratively with the School of Foreign Service. Each year the Program hosts residencies with guest artists who collaborate deeply with students in the classroom and in the life of the Davis Performing Arts Center. Our major prepares students for lives in varied fields, including the arts, education, public service, and cultural criticism.

Georgetown University’s Music Program is distinctive for its emphasis on the study of music as both a reflection of multiculturalism in the Americas and a creative activity within contemporary society. The program specializes in all forms of music associated with American Culture, including jazz, rock, film, popular music from around the world, and music of the Western European Tradition (i.e. classical music). The liberal arts degree in American Musical Culture integrates the University’s strengths in politics and American Studies and is designed for students interested in pursuing careers and/or graduate study in arts management, composition, cultural criticism, entertainment law, media studies, music business, music journalism or musicology.

Georgetown has a long tradition in music. For well over a century, students have actively participated in ensembles such as orchestra, concert choir, jazz band and chamber music. There are also co-curricular groups such as a cappella ensembles and the Pep Band, which perform at athletic events. More recently, the Music Program has expanded its offerings to include performances by groups like the World Percussion Ensemble and Guild of Bands, an organization dedicated to contemporary popular music, and collaborations with professional ensembles including Modern Musick and the PostClassical Ensemble. Students can also produce their own recordings in the new Taishoff Recording Studio.

Nomadic Theatre is a co-curricular troupe that provides exciting opportunities both on and off the stage. Since 1982, they have produced plays — from quirky comedies to introspective dramas — that educate and challenge all members of the university community through thought-provoking theater. Nomadic’s logo, a caravan of camels, symbolizes the company’s migratory behavior as they perform in a variety of campus spaces throughout the year.