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A.R.T. opens ‘Father Comes Home,’ hosts panel

Suzan-Lori Parks

American Repertory Theater in Cambridge has its official opening tonight of the world premiere of “Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3),” by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, which is part of its Civil War project.

The show, directed by Jo Bonney in a co-production with The Public Theater in New York, is described as “a devastatingly beautiful new play set over the course of the Civil War.” The three parts: Part 1, “A Measure of Man,” about Hero, a slave who must decide whether to join his master on the Confederate battlefield in exchange for a promise of freedom; Part 2, “The Battle in the Wilderness,” which follows Hero and the Colonel as they lead a captured Union soldier toward the Confederate lines; and Part 3, “The Union of My Confederate Parts,” in which the loved ones Hero left behind question whether to escape or wait for his return.

The cast includes Benton Greene as Hero, Jenny Jules as Penny, Sekou Laidlow as Homer, Harold Surratt as The Oldest Old Man, Ken Marks as the Colonel,Michael Crane as Smith, Jacob Ming-Trent as Odyssey Dog, and Charlie Hudson III, Julian Rozell, Jr., and Tonye Patano as the Runaway Slaves. Music is arranged and performed by Steven Bargonetti. Set design is by Neil Patel, costume design by ESosa, lighting design by Lap Chi Chu, sound design and music supervision by Dan Moses Schreier, with songs and additional music by Parks.

The run of the show includes a presentation at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 8 (following the matinee performance) called “Fighting for Freedom: The Civil War and Its Legacies,” hosted by A.R.T. (under the artistic direction of Diane Paulus) and the Carr Center for Human Rights. For the evening, Timothy Patrick McCarthy, award-winning Harvard University faculty member and director of the Carr Center’s Sexuality, Gender and Human Rights Program will be in conversation with Parks; Henry Louis Gates, Jr, Alphonse University professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard; and Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University.

The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited.

“Father Comes Home From the Wars” and the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s opera “Crossing” are centerpieces of A.R.T’s “Civil War Project,” a multi-year initiative to investigate and commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War that is also part of the National Civil War Project.

More information: 617-547-8300 or AmericanRepertoryTheater.org

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