Heartwood Welcomes Cast for "The Legend of Jim Cullen"

RELEASE DATE: June 17, 2013

“The Legend of Jim Cullen” premieres next month, as the capstone of Heartwood’s 10th Anniversary Season – a crowning production of original, innovative and collaborative work which Heartwood audiences have come to expect and appreciate.

It's the story of a New Brunswick immigrant living in Aroostook County, in 1873. It's the story of the only lynching in New England history. It's “The Legend of Jim Cullen“, by Heartwood’s Artistic Director, Griff Braley.

Awash with music, the story unfolds with traditional Canadian and Eastern folk music, edgy new folk sounds, male acapella tunes, an Irish jig, art songs and choral pieces. This large scale collaborative musical project has been underway for months, with lyrics and music by Griff Braley and arrangements by local musicians/composers/arrangers Aaron Robinson and Corey Redonnet.

Based on real events and Northern Maine history, the play makes use of period vaudeville, portrays a mill work scene, a baptism through the ice and even a barn-building with traditional tools, woven together by a pseudo-scientist-journalist narrator, who liberates the story from history and makes it his own.

The cast arrived mid-June, from all over the country (TX, OH, PA, FL, NY, MA) to live in the Damariscotta/Newcastle Area through early August. Actors double as musicians on stage, so most are currently enrolled or have recently graduated from theater and musical programs.

Lead roles belong to Equity Actors Jed Aicher from NY, playing Jim Cullen, and David Connelly from TX, playing the narrator, Bateman. Other visiting cast include: Jamie Roach and Holland Hamilton from NY, Toney Brown and Tyla Collier from MA, Melissa Hall and Sam McInerney from OH, Carl Lundstedt from PA, Deirdre Manning from FL, Avery Merritt from CA and Adele McAllister from MD. An audience favorite (Portland) in Heartwood’s recent “Macbeth,” Equity Actor JP Guimont (Macduff) returns, along with Christine McCormick from Whitefield, Coady Robson from Woolwich and Sebastian LaPointe, summer Boothbay resident.

Original work is rewarding, exciting … and expensive. You can be a supporting online collaborator through Heartwood's Rockethub fundraising portal. Simply google “Rockethub” and search on “Jim Cullen” or “Heartwood.” Rockethub funding will help pay actor and collaborator fees and assist in the continued development and promotion of the original script and music. Show info at Rockethub is vibrant and changing, with photos, videos and text evolving.

“The Legend of Jim Cullen” is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Community Foundation, along with sponsorships from Bath Savings Institution, First Advisors, and the Newcastle Publick House.

Performances will appear in the air conditioned Parker B. Poe Theater at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, on July 19 & 20, 26 & 27, Aug 1-3 at 7:30pm. One matinee performance will take place on Sunday, July 28th at 3pm. Tickets are $20 adults / $12 students. Reservations strongly recommended at boxoffice@heartwoodtheater.org OR 207.563.1373.

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