This one surprised me. I thought it would be musical theater protest songs, but it's not that. Curated and directed by Artistic Director Peter Rothstein, the show honors five very different people or groups in the 20th Century who used music in their heroism: Wallace Hartley, the bandleader of the doomed Titanic who continued to play and give comfort to the passengers as the ship sank; Marian Anderson, the Black opera singer who sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to an integrated crowd in 1939 when theaters were still segregated; Vedran Smailović, a cellist who played amongst rubble and sniper fire in 1992 Sarajevo; the Swingjugend (swing kids), a group of young people who turned their love of American swing and jazz into protest in Nazi Germany; and Joan Baez, the American folk singer who toured South America amidst death threats. All of them are inspiring stories, told by the performers with accompanying historical photos, before launching into a song or two.
And the music is just fantastic. The highlight for me is an original song written and performed by Cat Brindisi and David Darrow called "On the White Star Line," about the sinking of the Titanic and the life of "Wally," a fun and rockin' tune despite the dark subject. Also great are Greta Oglesby singing to honor Marian Anderson, accompanied by Sanford Moore; Dan Piering and Jon-Michael Reese dueting (on cello and piano, respectively) and singing John McCuthcheon's “'Streets of Sarajevo;" Rush Benson and Renee Guittar dancing as the "swing kids;" and Jennifer Grimm singing the songs of Joan Baez, accompanied by Joe Cruz and Francesca Dawis. Filmed primarily on the stage of the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis, this is an inspiring collection of music and stories, shedding light on various acts of heroism and how music can be vital part of that.
|the cast of Heroic Acts of Music
(photo credit: @cherryandspoon Instagram)
Visit Theater Latte Da's website to watch the first three shows in the Ghostlight Series now, with the remaining two shows to be released this summer.