Special guest narrators
Grammy-Winner Bruce Hornsby
Tuskegee Airman Ezra Hill
Historic Musical Themes performed by the
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band at Fort Monroe
(Please note that Bruce Hornsby gratiously agreed to help narrate this production. He DOES NOT play the piano or sing on this CD. We are very thankful to Bruce Hornsby, Ezra Hill, the TRADOC Band, and all of the other artists who donated their performances to this project.)
In 1607, Captain Christopher Newport and John Smith set sail from England searching for riches and adventure. What emerges is a new nation that struggled to find freedom and opportunity for all people. This story is told within the borders of the Virginia Peninsula.
There's Pocahontas and Powhatan who see strangers take over the land of their ancestors. There's the settlers struggle to survive in Jamestown and the eventual move to Williamsburg. Patrick Henry helps us understand the reason for the Revolutionary War. After victory in Yorktown, the country struggles with slavery. That struggle explodes in Hampton where the first land battle of the Civil War is fought at Big Bethel. The Monitor and the CSS Virginia fight off of Hampton's shores and warfare changes forever. Benjamin Butler frees slaves in Hampton
In Newport News, Collis P. Huntington's shipyard connects the United States with the world through industry while Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey touch the world through the arts. NASA Langley Research Center explores the sky and eventually helps America land on the moon.
This is one of Rainbow's most ambitious productions and one that we have wanted to present for many years. While we haven't stopped yet to count the puppets and props we know that we have never had so many speaking parts in a single show... 25 actors were brought in to portray four centuries of historic characters.
Grammy-Winning Bruce Hornsby assists in narrating the story of his hometown and surrounding area. It is especially appropriate that he introduces the sequence on Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey. Bruce was inducted into the Virginia Legends of Music Walk of Fame at the same time as both Ella and Pearl.
We are equally fortunate the have the kind assistance of the U.S. Army TRADOC Band provide traditional music to our telling of the Revolutionary War and Civil War segments. How appropriate, since so much of our Civil War portion of the show is told in and around Fort Monroe.
The Civil War segment of the program is narrated by Tuskegee Airman Ezra Hill. A life long Peninsula resident, he recently was honored at the White House where he presented President and First Lady Bush a copy of his children's book about the exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The show officially opened on December 9, 2006 at the Williamsburg Library Theater.
Rainbow Puppet Productions
"From the Sea to the Sky"
a new musical
written and staged by David Messick, Jr.
Tuskegee Airman Ezra Hill
Sound engineer and musical arrangements by Steve Scheffler
Traditional military music performed by
The US Army Training and Doctrine Command Band, commanded by Captain Tod Addison
Conducted by Executive Officer, Second Lieutenant Sharon Leopold.
Cellist Elizabeth Yohn
Vocal performers (in order of appearance)
Robin Welch, Powhatan
Kara Dennison, Pocahontas
John Ericson, Captain Christopher Newport
Tim Tharrington, the First Mate / Captain John B. Cary
Steve Scheffler, the Tailor, additional narration
Don Bartlett, John White, Settler from the Lost Colony / NASA flight commander
Chris Bartlett, Eleanor Dare, Settler from the Lost Colony
David Messick, Jr. Captain John Smith / the Importer
Jim Stensvaag, the assistant to the Importer / the Northern Debater
Mark Tiller, Patrick Henry
Jason Wiedel, the Southern Debater
Craig T. Adams, Benjamin Butler
Norm Otto, Abraham Lincoln
Peter Natale, commander of the USS Monitor
James Spruill, commander of the CSS Virginia
Gerri Hollins, Mary Peake
Marvin Sylvest, Collis P. Huntington
Sidnee Gamble, Kevin and Kavon Harrington, Joshua McQueen as Mary Peake’s students
Native American Puppets by Craig T. Adams
Wooden puppets and props painted by Kathie Davis
Wide mouth puppets by Jill Harrington
Sculpted human puppets by Laura Huff
Eagle puppet by Frank Lakus
Props and set pieces by David Messick(Sr. and Jr.), Stephanie Messick, Anna Moyer
Costumes by Regina Smith
Kathie Davis, Carrie Cavin, David Messick, Jr., Sarah Castle
Gerry Hollins, founder of the Contraband Slave Historical Society
Anna Holloway, Chief Curator USS Monitor Center at the Mariner’s Museum
Dr. James Horne, Director of the Rockefeller Library at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, author of "A Land as God Made It"
Powhatan Red Cloud-Owen (Chickahominy), Tribal Council Member and Visiting Specialist, Jamestown 2007
Dr. Jim Stensvaag, historian (retired) Casemate Museum of Ft. Monroe, editor of "From the Sea to the Stars"
Karenne Wood (Monacan), Tribal Council Member and Chair, Virginia Council on Indians
Special thanks to Laura Pass Barry, MSG Mark A. Hayward, Stephanie Heinatz, Wayne Pooley, Melissa Reagan
We wish to thank the City of Williamsburg, York County, James City County, the Williamsburg Area Arts Commission and the York County Arts Commission for their generous support of this project.