The Legend Grows

“His legend grew, as legends do … our legend, too.” Opening July 24th at Heartwood, “The Legend of Jim Cullen – A Dramatic Musical” – has indeed grown, since its premiere run last summer.  Tighter, restructured and compacted, it soars on the notes of a brand new Broadway style musical score by Composer Aaron Robinson, Book, Lyrics and new Staging concept by Heartwood’s Artistic Director, Griff Braley.

The creation of a new play or musical is a work in progress: open, close, workshop, restage and reopen … each iteration brings the work closer to its final form.

One year later.  After the luxury of retrospect and process time … after reworking storyline, dramatic structure and characters  … after months of collaborating on lyrics and music with Aaron Robinson … Braley is ready to mount the final version of this original, collaborative piece of Maine history and music.

“The Legend of Jim Cullen” is a story of a New Brunswick immigrant living in the wild frontier of Aroostook County, in 1873 - the only recorded lynching in New England history.  A morality play that questions, probes, challenges, its issues are timely; man continues to wrestle with questions of inequity, prejudice, social and religious liberty, compassion and the value of the individual.   

Accomplished musicians, singers and actors, some from the Midcoast, some from around the country, bring new faces, a new look, a new sound and feel to this production.  A nine piece orchestra led by Sean Fleming supports a cast and chorus of nineteen, as they deliver this compelling drama, with thirty musical numbers.

If it’s light entertainment you’re seeking, there are many Midcoast choices to be enjoyed, this summer.  For those who also enjoy theater on the serious side, “The Legend of Jim Cullen” is a strong choice, funded in part by sponsorships from Bath Savings Institution, Granite Hill Estates, HM Payson, J&H Landscaping and Newcastle Publick House.

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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