Tracker Pixel for Entry

​North Dakota history comes to life in new musical

by Paige Johnson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Theatre | June 21st, 2017

Author, professor, historian and now playwright: Dr. Charlie Barber has taken his love of history to the stage with his new musical, “No Backseat Driver.”

Barber’s play is the story of two North Dakota heroes: “Wild Bill” Langer and his wife, Lydia Cady Langer.

“I’ve been researching Bill Langer since 1983,” said Barber. “He was wild in personality, but he cared about the underdogs. I’m not interested in writing about characters who aren’t progressive. They must be real.

“As a teacher and someone who’s been in theatre, I know this is a vehicle and worth singing about. The idea you could do this is not so strange. I’m aware of a musical’s power.”

William “Wild Bill” Langer was a North Dakota politician, serving as governor for two terms and in the U.S. Senate. His scandals resulted in him being removed from office and gave him a wild reputation.

This is the first and only musical Barber’s ever written. He was clear to say that writing was easy, the tunes were easy, but when it came to creating the music itself, Barber said that was the hardest part of the process.

Barber enlisted Andrew Miller, a published and accomplished religious music composer. “I challenged him to try different musical forms,” Barber said.

The musical integrates everything from barber shop to ragtime, swing, polka, two-step and boogey woogey. The musical itself isn’t necessarily one genre or the other: “You will laugh and you will cry. You’ll be touched,” Barber explained.

“You will think democracy is still worth fighting for. My intention was that it’s still worth believing in.”

So far, the response has been very positive: with wonderful music and learning about some North Dakota history. Yet after Bismarck’s performances, and performances in Fargo, Barber said he doesn’t know where “No Backseat Driver” will go.

“It takes money,” he said simply. “I had a grant from the North Dakota Humanities Council, but it can’t go to a wider audience if it’s not funded. It can be easily undertaken and could, and should, be done. I think it should be carried around to young kids. Music can be a wonderful teaching tool.”

The first show was Monday, June 5. Barber said it’s impossible to explain exactly what he’s feeling. “It’s like drinking water from a fire hose,” he said.

“No Backseat Driver” will be coming to Fargo on Sunday, June 25 at Dawson Hall in Bonanzaville in West Fargo. The first show will be at 3:00 PM. Following performances will be Monday, June 26 and Tuesday, June 27 at 7:30 PM.

The following week, another three performances will be hosted on Sunday, July 2 and Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4. Times are the same as the above performances.

Following the July 2nd show, Barber will be hosting a post-performance discussion.

IF YOU GO

“No Backseat Driver: A Historical Musical”

June 25 – July 4, times vary

Dawson Hall, Bonanzaville, West Fargo

Tickets: $10 per person

Recently in:

Sophia Wilansky says she’s lucky she’s right handed. Since nearly losing her left arm from an exploding projectile on Backwater Bridge one year ago, cooking has become a tedious art. She can no longer be involved in circus…

The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes the trans individuals who have lost their lives due to violence this year. It is a day where we read their names and remember them—not how they died, but how they lived. This is also…

Thursday, November 16, 7-9pmUnglued, 408 Broadway N, FargoProof Artisan Distillers and Unglued present a craft party with four distinct projects and help from artists Ashley from AENDEE and Nicole Rae, not to mention a special…

“The experience of all ages has proved that the people constantly give away their liberties.” - John Adams“Man’s dishonesty with himself is his greatest enemy. When he makes a mistake, his memory admits, ‘I have done…

The thoughts and prayers of politicians will finally be answeredWe have had 307 mass shootings (four kills or more) so far in 2017, including the last one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 mortals attending church, aged 18…

For the third week in a row, our panel of judges were out on the town with a thirst for cocktails and a focus on presentation, flavor, and creativity. This week’s adventures took us to a couple of hotspots in south Fargo, as the…

Colder weather, changing leaves, pumpkin spice and more are some of the few things that come to mind when many think of fall. But fall is about much more than sugary lattes and scarves, and you can fully indulge in fall flavors at…

I’m told that there is nothing quite like a live Green Jelly show, where anarchy and foam puppets reign. So perhaps it’s in the spirit of the upcoming show that my intended interview with the mastermind and vocalist behind the…

On Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm, the Fargo Theatre hosted a screening of “The Mission of Herman Stern,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the remarkable humanitarian efforts of the North Dakota businessman and founder, in…

Would you like to escape your stressful daily life with a relaxing arts event? Do you like to meet with old friends and make new ones? Or maybe you would like to start your Christmas and Holiday shopping early. FMVA has the event…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Anthony Paul [Editor’s note: This piece contains language that some readers may find offensive]It has been all over social media and the news lately, how our president and commander-in-chief called and spoke with one of these…