Attend Our Tale

 Refined & Renewed – Heartwood’s Original Dramatic Musical

 Attend our tale!  “The Legend of Jim Cullen” springs to life, straight from the mind of Professor Luther C. Bateman, storyteller, raconteur, quasi-scientist, newspaperman (1849-1924).  As the tale crescendos, arcs and settles on the notes of a new musical score, Bateman examines the difficult questions surrounding a difficult story, where no easy answers lie. 

 How do we mange divergent beliefs and prejudices?  What of personal responsibility and human compassion?  How DO legends grow?  And the recurring, haunting question, "What is the soul of man?"

 “The Legend of Jim Cullen” is a story of a New Brunswick immigrant living in the wild frontier of Aroostook County, in 1873, and the only recorded lynching in New England history. 

 Heartwood Theater’s director and playwright, Griff Braley, and composer Aaron Robinson, spent much of last winter immersed in the story, lyrics and notes of this icy legend, which premiered last summer.  This spring, they emerged with a refined, renewed, unified version of this original dramatic musical – a melding of history and philosophy, words and music, and the work of two very distinct artists. 

 The combination of complex characters and challenging vocal work requires a committed, talented cast, with willingness to surge straight into the additional demands of evolving, original work.  Braley and Robinson invested hundreds of hours casting, with NETC auditions in March, online audition postings in NY and personal contacts with many known Midcoast musical actors.  The result: a diverse, yet completely unified cast.

 Somewhat peculiar to Heartwood’s summertime production process is the six week rehearsal period, leading up to opening night.  It’s a rare opportunity for an actor to have this luxury of time to dig in, search, explore, experiment and claim a new role, and these actors are hungry to do just that.  The nine piece orchestra, now rehearsing Robinsons’ score, will soon join the cast to flesh out the full performance dynamic.

 Process – it’s where the growth, the thrill and the rewards reside, and it’s what Heartwood is all about.  Compelling and engaging, “The Legend of Jim Cullen” is a don’t-miss for summertime drama and music. 

 Funded in part by Season Sponsor Bath Savings Institution, Productions Sponsor Granite Hill Estates, and Show Sponsors: HM Payson, J&H Landscaping and Newcastle Publick House.

 For details, cast info, videos and photos, visit

 Performances will appear in the air conditioned Parker B. Poe Theater at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, on July 24, 25, 26, 31 & Aug 1 & 2 7:30pm.  One matinee performance will take place on Sunday, July 27th at 3pm.  Tickets are $22 adults / $8 students.  Reservations strongly recommended at OR 207.563.1373.


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