Firehouse Theater has announced the dates, cast, and creative team for its debut musical GABRIEL, about the revolutionary leader of a very significant slave rebellion that history has largely ignored. GABRIEL is written by Jerold Solomon, Foster Solomon and Ron Klipp, with music and lyrics by Ron Klipp. Production will take place at Firehouse from January 27 to February 26, 2022.
GABRIEL is based on the true and little-known historical events of the summer of 1800 when a scholar blacksmith and slave on the Prosser Plantation in Richmond, Virginia, staged a statewide rebellion to end the ‘slavery.
Eyewitness accounts estimated Gabriel’s rebel strength at 500 to 1,000 men. On the day of the uprising, a severe thunderstorm flooded the area, destroying the rebels’ lines of communication and thwarting the diversionary fires that were a key part of their plan. Gabriel reluctantly decided to postpone the rebellion. Before he could regroup, he was captured, tried and hanged publicly along with 25 other conspirators. Virginia Governor James Monroe and the General Assembly quickly enacted a series of rigid laws intended to quell future uprisings and to further control and restrict the lives of free and enslaved blacks. Douglas Egerton, historian and author of Gabriel’s Rebellion, wrote: “Most of his contemporaries, black and white alike, believed his plan had a good chance of succeeding. If he had, he could not only have changed the course of the American race. relations but also the course of American political history.
The GABRIEL ensemble features Jerold Solomon as the title role of Gabriel (and co-librettist), Alvan Bolling II, Keydron Dunn, J. Ron Fleming Jr., Khadijah Franks, Sydnee Graves, Rachel Marrs, Michael McMullen, Eddie Webster and Joel White. GABRIEL’s musicians are Bentley Cobb (drums), Ed Drake (guitar), Leilani Fenick (piano), Ned Haskins (cello), Jake Millhouse (bass) and Marissa Resmini (violin). GABRIEL’s creative team is made up of Foster Solomon (director and co-librettist), Billy Dye (musical director), Leilani Fenick (assistant musical director), Leslie Owens-Harrington (choreographer), Dasia Gregg (stage designer), Andrew Bonniwell (lighting designer), Anna Bialkowski (costume designer), Jay Basu (costume assistant), Morgan Lea Palmer (stage manager), Dennis Bowe (assistant stage manager) and Kennedy Shahan (assistant stage manager).
GABRIEL tickets are available at https://gabrielrva.eventbrite.com. Information on Firehouse is available at https://www.firehousetheatre.org