By: Sofia Battles
What’s new here in the nest?
A look into ‘Gabriel’, an untold story
History, especially displayed in popular media, is a key part of general education. Jerold Solomon, the theater director here at Godwin, has been involved in such a production. ‘Gabriel’, a musical telling the story of Gabriel Prosser, the man behind the biggest planned slave revolt in Virginia history, has been in production for about four years, and Solomon joined the creative team around two and a half years ago. This was Solomon’s first foray into writing, and being involved in a larger scale production, and he and his co-writers are extremely proud that many enjoy it.
Solomon’s favorite part of the play is a song that closes out Act 1 of the musical. “The end of Act 1 has a huge song called “Death or Liberty” and it’s probably the most fun number. It might not be my favorite song, but it definitely gets the greatest crowd reaction.”
Along with its opening sucess, Solomon believes that this is an extremely important story to tell, especially to the residents of Virginia.
“Most of what we know about how slaves were treated and the restrictions placed upon them regarding meeting in groups, earning money, etc., was a direct result of this planned rebellion. Just no one knows it!”
“As [an] African-American man who was born and raised in Virginia, I was shocked that I didn’t know about this story when I heard it a few years ago. Gabriel’s Rebellion was a huge consequential event and the story of it has been suspiciously absent from the teaching of Virginia History.” he said. “A lot of our history has been hidden from us so bringing this story to light means a lot.”said Solomon.
He also encourages all students here at Godwin, if possible, to come and see ‘Gabriel’. “The message and the story are so important and relevant to today’s social climate. We should always look back at history and use it to inform our present.”
‘Gabriel’ had its opening performance on Thursday, Sept. 8, and will close on Oct. 2. As of today, all tickets are sold out for every weekend, but a waiting list will begin 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the musical. Those on the waiting list must be physically present at the Firehouse Theater.