September 18, 2008.By Hennepin Theatre Trust.
Tickets On Sale Friday, Oct. 17 Presented by Cantus, Theater Latté Da and Hennepin Theatre Trust "… a classic to be repeated for years to come"—Minneapolis Star Tribune
MINNEAPOLIS—Returning for the holidays and as part of its first national tour, All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, will run for six performances on December 18-21, 2008 at the Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis. All is Calm is a theatrical concert and musical radio drama created by playwright/director Peter Rothstein from Theater Latté Da and presented by Hennepin Theatre Trust, featuring three cast members and the singers of Cantus, one of America’s finest professional male vocal ensembles. An ode to peace with musical arrangements by Cantus’ Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach, All Is Calm is based on real stories from an extraordinary time around Dec. 24 during World War I when men from opposing forces on the Western front lay down their arms in a spontaneous truce. Tickets go on sale Friday, Oct. 17 for $35 and $25. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit www.HennepinTheatreDistrict.org.
After its 2007 sold-out, world premiere in Minneapolis, interest in All is Calm remained so strong that the creators joined forces with Hennepin Theatre Trust to present the Minnesota Pantages’ run and planned a national tour to California, Arizona, New Hampshire, Georgia, Iowa and the Dakotas. The show was conceived by Rothstein as a radio musical drama and features returning actors, Alan Sorenson, John Catron and David Roberts, portraying more than 30 characters and the Cantus singers providing the a cappella voices that rang out along the 80-mile front. Rothstein used a rich audio format not only because radio was the primary communication tool at that point in history, but because audiences are asked to engage the imagination to inhabit the story.
All is Calm is told in the text and songs of soldiers in the Allied Forces and German army who laid down their arms and met in No Man’s Land between the trenches to celebrate Christmas together. This minimally staged dramatic re-telling contains quotes from 30 World War I figures and music ranging from patriotic tunes and trench songs to medieval Scottish ballads and holiday carols from England, Wales, France and Germany. In some places the truce lasted just for a night, in others longer, but during that remarkable and cold moment in 1914, enemy troops traded carols, food and drink, shared burial services and soccer matches, and helped each other bury their dead who had lain frozen on the battlefield for weeks. Once it was over, the fighting resumed again for four more years─”with a vengeance,” remembered one soldier.
Rothstein, also Latté Da's artistic director, said “I wanted to tell the story in their words, so I’ve created the dialogue primarily through found text from sources including letters, official war documents, autobiographies, World War I poetry, grave stone inscriptions and even old radio broadcasts. It was an epic event, but very personal. I felt a responsibility to put a human face on war." He developed the piece for five years and says, “I was able to spend time along the Western Front and conduct extensive research in Brussels, Ieper and London. It was incredibly powerful to stand on the very spot, and to go to the primary sources. For decades the Christmas truce was considered a romantic fable, however there is no doubt thousands of men took part in this extraordinary event. Current research suggests there were eight truces along the front.”
Said Erick Lichte, musical arranger and artistic director for Cantus, “All is Calm allows us to sing Christmas carols that everyone knows and loves, but when set in the context of trench warfare, take on new poignancy. Music was an important part of life in the trenches and was what instigated the truce. The soldiers would hold impromptu concerts and exchange songs across No Man’s Land. And one brave German soldier put down his gun and stepped in the field singing ‘Stille Nacht’.”
The world premiere was broadcast live on Minnesota Public Radio and heard across the globe through live web streaming. Live performances were previously held at churches in the Minneapolis area. This year All is Calm will be broadcast internationally through American Public Media and the European Broadcast Union.
Tom Hoch, President/CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust, concluded “All is Calm is a moving and innovative production based on a remarkable true story that fosters the hope that we can rise above conflict. It’s a pleasure to collaborate with Theatre Latté Da and Cantus to give Twin Cities’ audiences another opportunity to experience such an important work.”
TICKET INFORMATION Tickets go on sale Friday, Oct. 17 for $25 and $35 depending on seating preference. Additional fees may apply. Tickets may be purchased in person at the State Theatre Box Office (805 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, 55402), online at HennepinTheatreDistrict.org, or through Ticketmaster by calling 612-673-0404 or visiting a Ticketmaster Ticket Center. Groups of 10 or more can save 10% and should call 612-373-5665 for information and reservations.
Performance dates for All is Calm are Thursday, Dec. 18 through Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008 at the Pantages, 710 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 55403. Show times are Thursday, Dec. 18 and Friday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 20 at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 21 at 1 and 6:30 p.m.
For more information on the All is Calm tour and other work by Theater Latté Da and Cantus please visit their respective web sites at latteda.org and cantusonline.org.
Hennepin Theatre Trust, owner of the historic State, Orpheum and Pantages Theatres, is a non-profit organization devoted to enriching the vibrant cultural atmosphere of the Twin Cities. The Trust’s programs include Broadway touring productions, the National Geographic Live Speaker’s Series, the Literary Legends Writer’s Series, the SpotLight Musical Theatre Program for high schools, Critical View student reviewer program, the free Ticket Access Program and Kids’ Night.
Theater Latté Da seeks to create new connections between story, music, artist and audience by exploring and expanding the art of musical theater.
Cantus, recognized as one of America's finest professional male vocal ensembles, enjoys a vigorous schedule of national tours, subscription concerts in its home of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, educational outreach programs, and recording. The Washington Post hails the ensemble's sound as having both "exalting finesse" and "expressive power," and refers to their music-making as "spontaneous grace." The ensemble is known for adventurous programming spanning many periods and genres, including chant, Renaissance music, contemporary works, art song, folk, spirituals, world music, and pop.