Wednesday, March 29
They Built America: The Workers of the Erie Canal
We are happy to announce that the The Capital Repertory Theatre will present They Built America: the Workers of the Erie Canal at The Charlton School on Wednesday, March 29th at 1:30pm.
They Built America tells the story of a young Irish immigrant named Kelly McPherson, a teenage girl who disguises herself as a boy to work on the Erie Canal. As Kelly searches for her brother, who has gone on ahead of her, she meets historical figures such as DeWitt Clinton and Canvass White (the scientist who invented the first waterproof cement). She also encounters leaders of the New York State Legislature; and a variety of immigrant workers including Sal (a Cockney cook), Tony (an Italian stonecutter) and Gus and Inga Erickson (Swedish immigrants who commandeer one of the canal packet boats).
Sourced from more than 35 historical records, the characters in the play are based on real men, women and children—politicians, farmers, merchants and laborers, who came north to build the Erie Canal, the miraculous waterway that transformed America into a great nation, and made New York the Empire State.
The production features five songs of the period, including “Oh! That Low Bridge,” “Song of the Diggers” and the beloved tune taught in schools state wide, “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal.” All are arranged by folklorist George Ward and performed by the company on guitars, fiddle and percussion instruments.
Researched by historian Rena Kosersky and written by Capital Repertory Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, They Built America: The Workers of the Erie Canal is the third original play in a series highlighting the role of upstate New York in forging the history of America.
Presented in conjunction with Capital Repertory Theater