“The last, distraught days of Edgar Allan Poe are charted with spellbinding vitality,” said Charles Isherwood of the New York Times, regarding Red-Eye to Havre de Grace, an original musical by Thaddeus Phillips, produced at the 2012 FringeArts Festival and funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Made in collaboration with Minneapolis-based composers Jeremy and David Wilhelm, and Teller of magic duo Penn & Teller, Red-Eye re-imagines the mysterious circumstances of Poe’s death after days spent traveling on trains, with dialogue and song lyrics taken directly from Poe’s correspondence with his mother-in-law.
Prior to the show’s opening, Phillips met with 2012 Pew Fellow and poet Catie Rosemurgy, to discuss their shared interest in the intersection of historical investigation and creative license, and how this balance plays out in their artistic practices. Rosemurgy, author of The Stranger Manual (Graywolf Press, 2010) spoke with Phillips about Red-Eye and her own current project, based on the Peshtigo Fire of 1871—a poorly documented event that has been mostly forgotten over time. Watch the full conversation above.