1001 Nights

Music & Lyrics by John Mercurio  

Book by Kenneth Allan Vega  

Conceived & Developed by Andrew Kato 

1857. The South just before the Civil War. On stage, a small traveling theatre presents their homemade version of A Thousand and One Nights. But backstage something rather different is going on: A runaway slave hides out. The traveling troupe is actually masquerading as a stop on the underground railroad that in a few days will travel North to Ohio. To freedom. Sophie, the runaway, posing as a dresser backstage has been with the troupe a month when a slave hunter, Ben, arrives just as the evening’s performance begins and claims that Sophie is a runaway. The actors in the troupe, Clive, a broken-down English thespian fallen on hard times and Ned and Katharine, New England abolitionists, insist that Sophie is an actress. She in fact will be playing the lead role of Scheherezade in tonight’s performance. With only one night separating Sophie from the Ohio River and her freedom, she is forced to tell stories to save her life. Scheherezade had a thousand and one nights in which to fight for her life; Sophie has one.