The Will, written by Sandra Seaton portrays the life of an African American family in a small town in Tennessee after the Civil War. The play offers both a dramatization of the experience of African Americans during Reconstruction and an interpretation of African American culture that brings out the place of classical music in African American history and life. The story of families like the Websters of The Will remains almost entirely untold. The father of the family, Cyrus Webster, is determined to pass on not only his worldly possessions but also his courage and wisdom to his descendants.
The character of Patti was inspired by the life of Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, a renowned African American opera singer of the Civil War and Reconstruction era.
Additional weekend activities:
Conversations on African American Culture and Classical Music
- Saturday, May 31 from 2 to 5 p.m.
- Panel discussions on the African American presence in opera from the late 19th century to the present day
- Organized by Naomi Andre, University of Michigan Musicologist
- Youth Workshops, Clinics, and Master Classes – offered throughout the weekend
Event participants include:
Naomi Andre, Aaron Dworkin, Anthony Elliot, Celeste Headlee, Alexandra Mascolo-David, Sandra Seaton, George Shirley, The Harlem Quartet: A Sphinx Ensemble