PROGRAM NOTES FROM THE ORIGINAL NEW YORK CITY OPERA PRODUCTION
GENTLEMEN, BE SEATED! is a history of the Civil War in the form of a minstrel show. For those of our audience who are not Civil War buffs we would like to offer these few explanatory notes.
PICNIC AT MANASSAS.
We have tried throughout the work to be as factual as possible. A series of gay luncheons did take place on the Bull Run Battlefield given by Washington's social set, who thought the war was going to be a one-battle affair.
THE BALLAD OF BELLE BOYD.
Miss Boyd, after the war, went on a theatrical tour of the United States recounting her exploits for an enrapt audience. This is an attempt to recreate the kind of act she might have presented, basing it, factually, upon incidents in her career.
MR. BRADY TAKES A PHOTOGRAPH.
This is the one piece of fiction in GENTLEMEN, BE SEATED! It is our own explanation of a peculiar gap in the otherwise remarkably complete photographic documentation of the war by Mr. Brady and his assistants.
ATLANTA TO THE SEA.
The incident that forms the basis of this number caused a wave of protest in the North when news of it arrived shortly after Sherman and his army entered Savannah. Secretary of War Stanton went down to Georgia along with a Commission of inquiry to investigate the facts. In the end, they verified the happening but exonerated Sherman's troops of malicious intent.
All the jokes used in the dialogues were culled from joke books printed during the Civil War. We wish to thank the New York Public Library and Library of Congress for generously allowing us access to their collections. Although you have been hearing these jokes for the last hundred years, we hope you will not look upon them as hoary chestnuts but as venerable jests.
Gentlemen, Be Seated! is an anti-war, anti-racist musical history of the War Between the States. Music was composed by Jerome Moross with lyrics by Edward Eager. It was completed in 1956 and produced and presented by New York City Opera in 1963. This is the complete vocal score.