Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gettysburg: One Woman’s War

  Michele LaRue will bring her acclaimed performance of Gettysburg: One Woman’s War to the Metropolitan Playhouse, 220 E. Fourth St., for two performances only, Dec. 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. The one-hour show will be followed by a talk-back.  

 Gettysburg: One Woman’s War is drawn from three stories from Elsie Singmaster’s 1916 classic Gettysburg, a collection of nine short stories presenting a group of related fictional characters whose lives illuminate various facets of the bloodiest engagement of the American Civil War.

In Singmaster’s powerful and specific exploration of a Civil War icon’s physical and emotional terrain, fictional townswoman Mary Bowman lives the war and its legacy — from the first shots at Willoughby Run to the consolation of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, to the country’s healing a half century on.

LaRue specializes in performances of American theatre and literature from the turn of the 20th century. Three-hundred-plus sponsors include colleges, universities, libraries and historical societies, from Maine to Texas to Minnesota. Previously, Metropolitan Playhouse has presented her The Bedquilt, by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. In January, the Playhouse’s Gilded Age festival will include her Roman Fever, by Edith Wharton.

Paula Olinger, associate professor at Gettysburg College and a member of Historic Gettysburg Adams County, said LaRue’s performance fills a major unmet need.

“What you have to offer is priceless,” she said. “There is almost nothing in the whole big 150th celebration that focuses on women. . . . So masterfully, professionally, affectively and effectively presented … Truly a treasure.”

Singmaster (1878 – 1958) is best remembered for her local colorist fiction, featuring the Pennsylvania Germans of her native state. Most of her novels and short stories were set in Macungie, Pennsylvania, either connected to her childhood there, or to the town’s history. Other Civil War – related works include I Speak for Thaddeus Stevens, “The Courier of the Czar,” and Swords of Steel. A graduate of Cornell University and Radcliff College, Singmaster lived in Gettysburg for all of her adult life. 

Metropolitan Playhouse explores America’s theatrical heritage through forgotten plays of the past and new plays of American historical and cultural moment. Called an “indispensable East Village institution” by and "invaluable" by Back Stage, Metropolitan has earned accolades from The New York Times, and received a 2011 OBIE Grant from The Village Voice for its ongoing productions that illuminate who we are by revealing where we have come from.

Tickets for Gettysburg are $18; $15 for students and seniors.  Visit or

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