"They Built America" FREE Capital Rep performance
March 22, 2017* Note: This event has already passed.
The Spindle City Historic Society of Cohoes and the City of Cohoes proudly present
They Built America.
This short play is being performed in the Cohoes Visitor Center, 58 Remsen Street
(ground floor of the historic Cohoes Music Hall) at 5:30PM on March 22, 2017.
The Visitor Center opens to the public at 5:10 p.m. Please plan accordingly!
The performance begins at 5:30 p.m. It is followed by a question/answer session with the actors.
Be on the lookout for more updates!
This play, described more fully below, focuses on the Erie Canal. Did you know that Cohoes once had 18 locks of the Erie Canal operating across this great city and was the site of the junction of the Champlain and Erie Canals? You won’t want to miss this opportunity to see this great story! And, the cast will provide you with a question and answer session following the performance.
Researched by historian Rena Kosersky and written by the Capital Repertory Theatre’s (REP’s) Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, They Built America is the third original play in a series highlighting the role of upstate New York in forging the history of America.
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 New York Governor DeWitt Clinton and Canvass White (the engineer who invented the first waterproof cement for canal construction and designed the innovative power canal system in Cohoes). 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, written in 1905 and taught in schools statewide, “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal.” All are arranged by folklorist George Ward and performed by the company on guitars, fiddle and percussion instruments.