From staff reports
A quarter of the cowhands in the West were Black. A Harlem composer found a way to honor their history.
“Cross That River” represents a significant moment in American history where Black cowboys lived and helped settle the West. It is a story that’s never been told in this way.
And this critically acclaimed musical will appear at USC Beaufort’s Center For The Arts for one night only – Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
The unsettled West of the 1860s provides a new life and new dreams for Blue, a run-away slave, who escapes from slavery to Texas to become one of America’s first Black cowboys. This compelling tale of freedom integrates fiction with historical fact, and each song presents a different page in this complicated chapter of American history.
The story of Blue begins in Louisiana, and with every song of this highly-infectious score, the audience is moved further along on Blue’s harrowing journey across the Sabine River to freedom in the Wild West. Each song tells a unique story, at times joyful, sometimes tragic, but mostly a poignant chronicle of enduring perseverance.
Award-winning musician, Allan Harris wrote Cross That River to tell the untold story of the Black West and empower Americans with an inspiring story of hope and freedom.
Educational outreach is an important component of this thrilling and relevant musical tale that performed for a multiple-week Off-Broadway run to great critical acclaim.
Tickets are on sale now for $35 for adults, $25 for students and $30 for seniors and military.
Here are just a few of the memorable reviews for “Cross That River:”
“The voice of a benign storyteller, a deeply romantic true believe with a heroic vision of American history and the African-American contribution.” – The New York Times
“An exhilarating production. The show has a riveting story along with a fabulous score – an extraordinary theatrical experience.” – Broadway World
“A Country-before-it-was cool song cycle inspired by the oft-overlooked history of the African-American cowboys.” – The Washington Post
“The musical canvasses the Wild West, and all of our favorite stock characters are there, as well as a few we haven’t met yet. There are saloon girls, fire and brimstone revival preachers, mad-eyed cattle-drivers, buffalo soldiers and mail-order brides.” – Show Business Weekly
“’Cross That River’ successfully conveys the often overlooked history of black cowboys from the perspective of Blue, an escaped slave who moves westward to help pioneer the new American West. ‘Cross That River’ combines elements of American indigenous musical genres from jazz to country and folk. The music and story are not only historical and educational, but also extremely moving and entertaining. This original work attests to Allan Harris’ commitment to create bold new work, worthy of attention by both American historians and musicologists alike.” – The Kennedy Center
Want To Go?
What: “Cross That River”
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 3
Where: USCB Center For The Arts
Tickets: On sale now — $35 for adults, $25 for students and $30 for seniors and military at this digital link or USCBCenterForTheArts.com.