Thaddeus Phillips' Red-Eye to Havre de Grace. Photo by Johanna Austin.
Thaddeus Phillips teams up with the Minneapolis-based musical duo Jeremy and David Wilhelm to create an action-opera centered on the odd details surrounding Edgar Allan Poe's mysterious last days. Set in September 1849, Red-Eye to Havre de Grace follows Poe on his last lecture tour from Virginia to New York, focusing on a stop in Maryland. There a train conductor saw Poe, wearing a strangers clothes, headed south just a few days before his death. This inventive work is informed by 19th-century train routes, historical accounts, and Poe's letters to his mother-in-law.
Phillips first presented this work fully staged at the 2012 FringeArts Festival, thanks to Center support, with an expanded piano-based score and enhanced visual effects beyond prior, smaller productions. Since then, Red-Eye to Havre de Grace has received a great deal of positive critical attention from media outlets such as the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, TheaterMania, and elsewhere. New York Times critic Charles Isherwood wrote of the 2012 Fringe Festival production, "This exquisite show is among the most original musical theater works I've seen in years."
This production of Red-Eye to Havre de Grace at the Walker Art Center is a part of Out There 2015. Out There brings startling, vital, provocative, and often joyous new forms of theatrical expression to the Twin Cites. Beginning as a modest two-weekend series, Out There has grown into a full-fledged month-long festival featuring new global performances, workshops, dialogue sessions, salons, and other activities throughout January.