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A Civil War Christmas

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December 10th, 2015 – January 3rd, 2016

It’s 1864, and the coldest Christmas Eve in years is whipping through the streets of Washington DC and along the banks of the Potomac River. A country stands torn in two as the President plots his next move, his wife visits convalescing soldiers, an escaped slave finds her freedom, and a young rebel comes face to face with his sworn enemy. This uplifting musical pageant by Pulitzer Prize–winner Paula Vogel weaves together a stunning tapestry of a community courageously weathering our country’s deepest crisis, showing us that hope, humor and peace are innate to being American.

Production Sponsors:
Rob Granat & Al Mazur
Darrell Netherton & Robert Wheeler [/tab]


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Matt’s Memo

Paula Vogel is not only one of our greatest living Lesbian playwrights, she is one of the greatest living playwrights – Period. Her panoramic look at America in Civil War Christmas is as sweeping as it is intimate, and refreshingly humorous and contemporary. This exclusive concert event is an inspirational and profound alternative to celebrate the holiday season


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About The Playwright

243_1Paual_VogelPaula Vogel received the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Lortel Prize, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Awards for Best Play, as well her second OBIE for her play How I Learned to Drive. Ms. Vogel won the 2004 Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the OBIE for Best Play in 1992, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center Fellowship,the McKnight Fellowship, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has served as Director of the MFA Playwrighting program at Brown University and Chairwoman of Playwrighting at Yale University’s School of Drama.[/tab]

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Ensemble (In Alphabetical Order)
Tanika BaptisteTanika Baptiste* is thrilled to be returning to Diversionary Theatre with A Civil War Christmas. Previously with Diversionary: A New Brain. Elsewhere: Violet (San Diego REP) RENT (Southwestern College) Big Kitchen (Cygnet) Down Around Brown Town (El Portal Theatre) Who’s That Lady (Barbara Morrison Theatre) and For Colored Girls (UC Davis) Love to my family and friends. Thank you Jesus, You’re the best!
Headshot 2015Brian C. Bose  is a performing artist, choreographer/director, and international teaching artist who is considered one of the “Faces to Watch in Arts” by UT San Diego. He is inspired and honored to be joining Diversionary Theatre for the first time on A Civil War Christmas. Other Credits: Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money (Apollo Theater); In The Heights, Dirty Little Secrets (San Diego REP); The Bacchae (London Oval House Theater); Romulus Kilgore’s Mobile Happiness Bazaar (La Jolla Playhouse W.O.W. Festival); It’s All Bueno (Cornerstone Theater Company).
Adam CuppyAdam Cuppy  is stoked to make his San Diego debut at Diversionary Theatre.  Having moved from Southern Oregon, Adam was an Associate Artist for Next Stage Rep.  Previous roles at Next Stage, include: Joe Sutter in The Spitfire Grill, Jeffrey Hatcher in Mrs. Mannerly, Henry Harry in Brilliant TracesEmil in Three Viewings, Jim (the gentleman caller) in The Glass Menagerie.  Elsewhere: The Belle’s StratagemRoom Service and The History of Dr. Faustus (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie (ArtAttack Theatre).  Find him online:
Taylor HendersonTaylor Henderson is thrilled to be back at Diversionary for A Civil War Christmas after performing with The Skivvies this past summer! Favorite credits include She-Rantulas From Outer Space in 3D! (NY International Fringe); Ojo (La Jolla Playhouse); All Shook Up (Moonlight Amphitheater); Avenue Q (Coronado Playhouse); and Rent (Southwestern College). Taylor couldn’t be happier to have had such a successful year with the endless support of her friends and family near and far. Here’s to 2016! Inspire! Aspire!
Annie Hinton HeadshotAnnie Hinton* Regional: Old Globe Theatre, The Hostage (Jack O’Brien); Seattle Repertory Theatre, Our Town (Dan Sullivan); A Contemporary Theatre; Empty Space Theatre; Seattle Children’s Theatre; and New Mexico Rep. Local: Ion Theatre, Grey Gardens; San Diego Rep, The Clean House; Cygnet Theatre, Book of Liz, A Christmas Carol, Private Lives; North Coast Rep, Importance of Being Earnest, Travesties, Glorious.  Film/TV: Bring It On; 29th & Gay; The Jenni Project (Disney); Veronica Mars and many others.Annie also channels her creative energy into her students.
Cashae MonyaCashaé Monya  is overjoyed about appearing on the Diversionary stage for the very first time! Elsewhere: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill and Chicago: Speakeasy Caberet (Ion Theatre); Trouble in Mind, Crumbs From the Table of Joy, Counterweight: The Elevator Love Play and The Bluest Eye (Moxie Theatre); Little Shop of Horrors and Our Town (Cygnet Theatre); You Can’t Take it With You and The Glory Man (Lamb’s Players); The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (North Coast Rep); and Memphis (La Jolla Playhouse/The 5th Avenue Theatre). Love to the favorites, Matthew & Grandmie.
DurwoodDurwood Murray  is very excited to be making his Diversionary Theatre debut. Elsewhere: The Full Monty, To Kill A Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men (New Village Arts); The Little Flower of East Orange (Ion); King John, Romeo and Juliet (Intrepid). Thank you to the grand commonwealth of Virginia,and The Usual Suspects.
Julia HeadshotJulia Nardi – Loving is thrilled to be making her debut at Diversionary in A Civil War Christmas. Other credits include A Shayna Maidel (Carlsbad Playreaders); Christmas Is Here Again and The Penelopiad (PCPA-Pacific Conservatory Theatre); As You Like It (PCPA-Conversatory Rep). She would like to thank all of her family and friends for their endless support.
Skyler Sullivan, Education Associate

Skyler Sullivan* is grateful to be returning to Diversionary Theatre with A Civil War Christmas. Previously for Diversionary: The Big Gay Improv Show, and Abe Lincoln Was a Faggot (Staged Reading). NYC credits include Largo Desolato (Ohio Theatre); The Vibrator Play (Walt Whitman Theatre); Regional: Strata, and Midnight Radio (Bricolage Production Company, Pittsburgh); TV: Sesame Street and The Electric Company (PBS). In addition Skyler is a hospital clown with the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit. Upcoming: Voltaire in Emilie (New Village Arts). MFA Brooklyn College.


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Creative Team

Director Kim Strassburger 

Kim is thrilled to return to Diversionary Theatre this year after directing A New Brain. Kim is the Associate Artistic Director of Ion Theatre. Ion directing credits include Master Class, Passion (2014 Craig Noel Nomination), Grey Gardens, Gypsy (2011 Craig Noel Nomination) and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Directing credits also include Edward Albee’s Seascapeat New Village Arts. Kim has also worked with Sledgehammer Theatre (Associate Artist), North Coast Repertory Theatre, and Cygnet Theatre among other San Diego theatres. Kim was the recipient of a National Artist Teacher Fellowship that funded her study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in 2013. In 2014, Kim also became a member of Lincoln Center Theater’s Directors Lab. In addition to her professional work, Kim teaches at the Coronado School of the Arts and most recently directed productions of A Midsummer Night’s Fever, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), The Grapes of WrathMetamorphoses and The Laramie Project, receiving Bravissimo Awards in 2010 and 2011 from the San Diego Educational Theatre Association. Upcoming directing projects include the San Diego premiere of Sunday in the Park with George at Ion Theatre (co-directing with ion’s Producing Artistic Director Glenn Paris.).

Set Designer Kristen Flores 

Kristen E. Flores (Scenic Design) is a locally-based Set Designer and is very pleased to be back for my third show this season. Some past design credits include: Bight Half Life(Diversionary Theatre), Baby With the Bathwater(Diversionary Theatre), Eternally Bad (Moxie), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Triad Productions), Water and Power (Culture Clash),  Ragnarok and Red Planet Respite (Circle Circle Dot Dot), and Josephine Tonight directed by Dr. Floyd Gaffney. For the last eleven years, Kristen has been designing for the Kuumba Festival, one of largest /longest running and premier celebration of African-American expression, culture, and heritage on the West Coast. She was the Scenic Charge Artist for the San Diego Repertory Theatre for the ten years and is currently the Prop Master for The White Theatre at The Old Globe.

Costume Designer Beth Connelly 

Beth holds an MFA in Acting from the University of Connecticut and a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts.  She is delighting to return to Diversionary Theatre with A Civil War Christmas.  She is the resident Costume Designer at Coronado School of the Arts where her recent work includes: Bat Boy, Big Fish, A Midsummer Night’s Fever, Chicago, Legally Blonde, Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), Pirates of Penzance and Grapes of Wrath.  Beth’s work in San Diego includes productions with ACT-San Diego;  CYC Theatre; J*Company; and Leading Light Theatre.

Lighting Designer Curtis Mueller

Curtis returns to Diversionary having designed Amazons and Their Men, Man Clan and A New Brain. Select local credits include: Quality of LifeThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, I Hate Hamlet, All My Sons, and Macbeth (Intrepid Shakespeare Company); Seascape (New Village Arts); Next to Normal, Spring Awakening, The John Mayer Project(Cabaret at the Merc Summer Series). Curtis has also worked extensively with Coronado School of The Arts, CYT San Diego, and CAST Productions. Curtis holds a BFA in Lighting Design from California Institute of The Arts.

Sound Designer Blair Nelson

Credits at Diversionary Theatre include: Bright Half Life, A New Brain, The Divine Sister, When Last We Flew, Dooley, and The New Century. Blair completed a Master of Fine Arts in Sound Design from the University of California, San Diego, Department of Theatre and Dance in 2012 and received a Bachelor of Music in Theory/Composition from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota in 2007. His new music collaborations have been curated, composed, and performed at the University of California San Diego, Calit2, California State University San Marcos, Canvas Gallery San Diego, San Diego State University, SD Space 4 Art, and the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater Los Angeles.

Music Director Tim McKnight

 Tim is thrilled to be returning to Diversionary Theatre with A Civil War Christmas. Previously for Diversionary:  Twist!, The Daddy Machine, [title of show] and It’s A Fabulous Life. Elsewhere: Ben Vereen Awards; West Side Story (J*Company); The Drowsy Chaperone (MiraCosta College); Rothschild & Sons (North Coast Repertory Theatre); 33 Variations (Carlsbad Playreaders); Little Shop of Horrors (Cygnet Theatre). Tim is also the Music Director of San Diego’s very own Encore Vocal Ensemble.

 Violinist  Kristopher Apple

Kristopher  is thrilled to be performing for the first time with the Diversionary Theatre. Elsewhere he has performed for the Joshua Chamber Orchestra, Lucia di Lammermoor (Orquesta de Baja California), Light in the Piazza(Lamb’s Players); Paper Cities (La Jolla Playhouse); Pause for World Creation (WOW Festival); Golden BoyHamlet, andThe Dybbuk (UCSD School of Theatre & Dance); An Evening of Surrealist Poetry (Amigos del REP); and Incoming (KPBS). In addition, Apple has worked extensively as a violinist and composer with contemporary dance and theater companies including Animal Cracker Conspiracy, San Diego Dance Theatre, Little Known Dance Theater, The PGK Dance Project, LIVE Collaborative Dance Theater, IMAGOmoves, Wallpaper Performance Company, Somebodies Dance Theater, and TranscenDANCE Youth Arts Project.

Resident Stage Manager Monica Perfetto

Monica is proud to be joining Diversionary for the remainder of their 2015-2016 season. Recently at Diversionary: Bright Half Life A New Brain. Elsewhere: RENT {Southwestern College), Annie (California Youth Conservatory), Much Ado About NothingI Hate HamletAll My SonsMacbeth, and  A Midsummer Night’s Dream the Musical (lntrepid Shakespeare Company). As Production Assistant:  The Fox on the Fairway, Side by Side, Chapter Two (North Coast Repertory Theatre). Monica is a graduate from the University of San Diego and holds a BA in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies.


















































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“Compassion and conflict, hardship and humanity blend poetically in “A Civil War Christmas,” a passionate San Diego premiere at Diversionary Theatre. …a fresh alternative to the familiar yuletide fare, it’s well worth a visit.”

                                                                                                                                                                     -U-T San Diego

“A sophisticated period piece that should appeal equally to history buffs and humanists. On paper, this might not seem like a feel good night, but the rendition is a rich and rewarding experience.”

                                                                                                                                                       -The San Diego Story

A Civil War Christmas is rich in precise historical detail, but it never feels like a series of talking dioramas in a history museum. And when the actors’ voices rise together in song – in well-chosen spirituals, along with war songs, hymns and carols like “Silent Night” and “O Christmas Tree” – there arises from the dark history being told an ineffable sense of wonder at the survival of faith and humanity even in hearts ravaged by loss.”

–The New York Times


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Encore Vocal Ensemble of San Diego brings to the stage songs from musical theater, film, television, and other pop culture sources. From Broadway classics to modern show-stoppers, blockbuster film standards to independent gems, they are dedicated to creating fantastic performances, advancing music education, and sharing music with the community. Founded in 2010, they have performed for public events and festivals, private events, fundraisers, cabaret shows, and they produce two shows of their own each year.

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