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The University of Texas at Austin


Rappahannock County: New Music Theater Work depicts impact of the Civil War

production still from Rappahannock County

Rappahannock County, presented by Texas Performing Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, is a new music theater piece about life during the Civil War. Presented in partnership with the Briscoe Center and the Harry Ransom Center, this moving new music theater work was co-commissioned by Texas Performing Arts to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.

Performance dates:
Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 8:00 pm

Thursday, September 22, 2011, 8:00 pm

McCullough Theatre

For more information and to purchase tickets:

The Briscoe Center has also created an exhibit of archival materials from the Civil War era, on display in the McCullough Theatre lobby. Viewing of the exhibit is prior to performances at 6:30 pm and by appointment. To make an appointment call 512.471.6376 or email

Texas Performing Arts serves The University of Texas at Austin campus and the Austin community at large through a diverse season of world-class fine arts performances, educational activities, and collaborative partnerships.

About Rappahannock County:
Renowned composer Ricky Ian Gordon (creator of the Obie Award-winning Orpheus and Euridice and the acclaimed opera Grapes of Wrath) has composed music for 20 songs with stories and words created by celebrated librettist/lyricist Mark Stephen Campbell (Volpone, Later Same Evening, and Songs from an Unmade Bed). Drawn from diaries, letters, and personal accounts, this fictional song cycle explores war’s impact, from secession to defeat, on a community of Virginians—black and white, rich and poor, soldiers, nurses, widows, and survivors.

This exclusive multi-media event is enhanced by projections of Mathew Brady’s renowned Civil War photography, illustrations, documents, and other moving visuals. It features five principal singers performing more than 30 roles, backed by an orchestra of 17 musicians.

"The personal is political," said Gordon. "The piece brings the sense of a lens closing in on a spectrum of individuals and their feelings around slavery and morality in a profound and poignant way. The cunning libretto by Mark Campbell beautifully shows what everyone has to lose."

Campus and Community Engagement Activities
Presented by Texas Performing Arts

"A River Between," the making of Rappahannock County
Film screening and discussion

Running time: 45 minutes
9/13/11, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
McCullough Conference Room, 3.614

Project Overview - the making of Rappahannock County
A conversation with Ricky Ian Gordon, composer and Mark Campbell, lyricist, Kevin Newbury and Rob Fisher

9/20/11, 10:30 - 11:30 am
McCullough Conference Room, 3.614

Brown Bag Lunch
Discussions with cast members and UT and Huston-Tillotson voice students

9/20/11, 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Mirror Room

Tech and Design Rehearsal
UT students observe rehearsal

9/20/11, 3:30 - 5:00 pm
McCullough Theatre

Post-Performance Talkback
With panelists Ricky Ian Gordon, composer, Mark Campbell, lyricist, and Professor Jacqueline Jones, Department of History

9/22/11, Immediately following the performance
McCullough Theatre

Youth Performance
For students in grades 7–12
(Reservation required)

9/23/11, 10:30 am
McCullough Theatre

Reflections on Rappahannock County and the time
Community discussion

9/27/11, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Carver Museum and Cultural Center, 1165 Angelina Street