SAVANNAH, Ga.— A group of St. Louis singers took part in a performance of Antigone in Savannah, the first live production of the show since the pandemic.
The musical, originally called Antigone in Ferguson, was conceived in the wake of Michael Brown's death. It features an unconventional presentation of scenes from Sophocles’ Antigone, a play about a teenage girl who wishes to give her brother a proper burial.
Actors like Jesse Eisenberg and Kara Young starred in the performance that took place Wednesday. Other actors flew in from New York and Los Angeles for the musical. Besides the dramatic readings, there is a gospel choir directed by Phil Woodmore.
The St. Louis man is the composer and says all the St. Louis members have been part of the team since the show’s inception in 2016. He flew down two weeks ago to work with the Savannah singers.
"I'm down here putting together a local choir I just met 10 days ago and teaching them all my music,” explained Woodmore.
Woodmore says Bryan Doerries, New York-based writer, director and translator with Theater of War, reached out to him to collaborate on the project, in part because he had a gospel choir featuring police officers, activists, youth and others.
The St. Louis singers include Duane Martin Foster, one of Michael Brown’s former teacher’s who is now an Asst. Principal at Normandy High School and was a former Broadway actor. There were several St. Louis-area law enforcement officers participating in the production, as well as two brothers, and another former teacher of Michael Brown’s.
"It's a great mix of people that are representing our city and coming to really help me support this message of moving forward," said Woodmore.
The production also included an audience-guided discussion led by De-Andrea Blaylock, a St. Louis-based social work, and Doerries.
The free performance took place on the same date as Savannah’s Jubilee, marking the emancipation of those enslaved by Union soldiers in 1864. The event’s website says it will take place near an unmarked burial ground for enslaved Africans.
Local media report the show comes as efforts are underway to rename the square after Susie King Taylor, the U.S. Army’s first black nurse who worked during the Civil War.