Book by West Hyler and Matt Schatz
Music and Lyrics by Matt Schatz
Additional Music and Lyrics by Jack Herrick
Inspired by Banvard’s Folly: Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn’t Change the World
In the 1850’s John Banvard did more to elevate fine arts than any single American artist before him. John Banvard was the most famous living painter in the world and the first millionaire artist, world-renowned for his three-mile long moving panorama celebrating the majesty of the Mighty Mississippi. Today an examination of reference books will not turn up a single mention of his name. John Banvard, the greatest artist of his time, has been utterly obliterated by history. The new musical Georama tells his story.
BARNUM – Michael Fitzpatrick*
CHAPMAN – Mark Murphey*
ELIZABETH – Stephanie Lambourn*
FIDDLE – Ted Kitterman
GUITAR – Silas Sellnow
JOHN BANVARD – Rob Hancock*
PIANO – Ana Marcu
DIRECTOR – Paul Mason Barnes***
PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER – Daniel Munson*
STAGE MANAGER – Kate Ocker
ASST. STAGE MANAGER – Rachael Baugh
SOUND DESIGNER – Matt Tibbs
LIGHTING DESIGNER – Ebony Madry
LIGHTING DESIGN SUPERVISOR – Lonnie Alcatraz**
PROPERTIES SUPERVISOR – Connor McEvoy
COSTUME DESIGNER – Margaret Weedon
GEORAMA DESIGN – Scott C. Neale
COMPOSER/MUSIC DIRECTOR – Jack Herrick
CHOREOGRAPHER – Tarah Flanagan
*Denotes membership in Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional stage actors and stage managers.
**Denotes membership in United Scenic Artists
***Denotes membership in the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
John Banvard’s life is a classic tale of rags to riches and back to rags. Banvard is credited for the invention of the “georama,” a moving panorama that was scrolled to show various scenes and accompanied by storytelling and music. Banvard’s famous georama depicted 2300 miles of the Mississippi River and the canvas itself was 3 miles long–it would have stretched between Perkins and Hyvee! Sadly, Banvard’s luck ran out when he began facing competition from imitators and invested his money into foolish ventures, including a castle he built for himself and his family commonly called “Banvard’s folly.” Despite his widespread popularity during his prime, he slipped into obscurity. Most of his paintings have been unable to be recovered today, although it is suspected that a section of the georama was found several years ago being used as insulation in a home.
The musical, which was workshopped here in Winona in 2012 but premiered in February at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, “illustrates an artist’s rise and fall and the choice he must make between the art he loves and the life he’s always longed for.” Our production stars Rob Hancock, in his GRSF debut, as John Banvard; Stephanie Lambourn as Elizabeth Goodnow; Michael Fitzpatrick as P.T. Barnum; Mark Murphy as Chapman, Pastor Goodnow, and the Queen of England; and Silas Sellnow, Ted Kitterman, and Ana Marcu as Musicians/Ensemble. The show will be 90 minutes long with no intermission.
By Emily Loof, GRSF Intern 2016.