Middletown, VA – Wayside Theatre Artistic Director Warner Crocker announced today the performance of Robert E. Lee and John Brown; Lighting the Fuse in our 2009-2010 Season.  This play with music is written by Crocker with music by Wayside Theatre resident composer Steve Przybylski.  The production is one of the planned events for the 150th Anniversary of the John Brown 1859 Raid on Harpers Ferry.   Robert E. Lee and John Brown; Lighting the Fuse begins performances on August 29 and close on September 26.  The John Brown 150 Anniversary Quad State Committee is planning and coordinating events to commemorate the 1859 Raid on the Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, VA.

The production Robert E. Lee and John Brown, Lighting the Fuse had its world premiere on September 11, 2004.  According to Warner Crocker, Artistic Director, “We are excited to bring back this original piece of theatre we created several seasons ago and to participate in the 2009 Sesquicentennial Anniversary of John Brown’s Raid. As Wayside Theatre continues its efforts to add more original programming, we hope our participation in the 150th  Anniversary of the John Brown 1859 Raid on Harpers Ferry will help the play in reaching a larger audience, who like our artists, believe that performances of plays about American History should be a vital part of our culture.”

Robert E. Lee and John Brown; Lighting the Fuse tells the story of the tumultuous period in American History leading up the American Civil War. It focuses on John Brown and his infamous raid on Harpers Ferry and Robert E. Lee, who was assigned to quash Brown’s attempted rebellion. Both men became and remain major symbols of this uniquely American conflict. The brief episode that brought them together on the banks of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers became a touchstone for both sides in the eventual war and is often overlooked and overshadowed by the scope of the war’s significant impact on American history and culture.

According to Crocker, “We have an exciting group of performers who will be asked to perform a large array of characters in telling the story. Several of them are veteran actors of Wayside and helped in the development of the script through a workshop process in 2004. While the focus of the story is certainly on the principle characters, I believe the six man ensemble as a unit will prove to be an equally compelling character in its own right.”

Crocker continues, “I am fascinated by the complexity of these men and the complexity of the issues. I am equally fascinated by the shortcuts we take in examining our own history and heritage that often belies that complexity. I believe that the play examines that complexity in a way that only live theatre can do. It is certainly a risky proposition for any theatre performing a historical drama, which has been well documented, and has not been adapted for production in theatre’s history. It is my hope that it will lead to more in the future.”

Robert E. Lee and John Brown; Lighting the Fuse begins performances with low priced previews at 2:30pm and 8:00pm on Saturday, August 29. The official Opening Night is Sunday, August 30 at 6:30pm.  Performances will continue through September 26.  Ticket prices are $25 to $30 dollars for adults. Ticket price for children 17 years and under is $10 for any show.   Senior and Student discounts are available upon request, as well as group discounts.  Wayside Theatre also sells discounted subscriptions for the entire season with options that fit any budget and any schedule.

Performances each week for Robert E. Lee and John Brown; Lighting the Fuse will be Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 8:00pm.

                Wayside Theatre is the second oldest professional theatre in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and is

celebrating its 48th season of presenting high quality, professional entertainment.  Patrons can obtain single

tickets, subscription packages, and group packages by calling the Box Office at (540) 869-1776. Additional

information can be obtained on the theatre’s website at www.waysidetheatre.org.  Wayside Theatre is

located in Middletown, Virginia on Route 11, Main Street, just north of the intersection of I-66 and I-81.

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