THE MARCH is the creative idea of Alan Marshall. In the Fall of 2010, Alan’s appreciation of African American history and his passion for opera inspired him to create an artistic vehicle for African American opera singers. Alan also had a strong desire to create an opera that would enlighten audiences about the depth and complexity of the African American experience.
Alan’s growing relationships with African American opera singers exposed him to their frustration about the lack of roles that could make full use of their talent. He heard stories about singers avoiding operatic roles because they considered them demeaning to them as African Americans.
Alan soon began pondering what would be a powerful story to tell. It was not long before he settled on an episode in the Civil Rights Movement. He chose the March on Washington as his subject because all of the major civil rights leaders were involved in its planning. He also felt like it would be exciting to examine the perspective of the Kennedy Administration. Finally, the March on Washington is considered by many historians as the emotional and spiritual pinnacle of the civil rights movement prior to the rise of the Black Power and anti-war movements.
Alan has researched extensively for this opera. He uses as many as twelve books per scene to give him every possible perspective of the setting, circumstances and characters. Some of his most rewarding research and writing involved the Oval Office scene where he spent months exploring the hearts and minds of Southern politicians who opposed the March on Washington and the civil rights bill.
Despite this exhaustive research, THE MARCH is not a documentary. It is an opera that uses the actual march and the surrounding historical period as a backdrop. THE MARCH is an opera about the personal stories of individuals, known and previously obscure, who came together on a hot, sunny day in August of 1963 and made history.
THE MARCH is an opera that is long overdue. Its creators are working tirelessly to bring to the operatic stage a creation that will serve art, history and humanity.
What’s in THE MARCH?
- A behind the scenes perspective of the personalities and rivalries of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement as they planned The March on Washington.
- Stories of individuals who made personal sacrifices to support and attend The March on Washington.
- The political repercussions of The March on Washington and the Civil Rights Movement that were felt from the halls of Congress to the Oval Office.
- A staging of the greatest civil rights demonstration in American history.