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Blue Moon Plays|Hymn to the Chesapeake|Musical of the Watermen of Virginia
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Hymn to the Chesapeake: A Full-Length Musical of Virginia's Eastern Shore

Hymn To The Chesapeake
A Haunting Play With Music Of The Eastern Shore 
By Robert P. Arthur

About the Play: Hymn to the Chesapeake opened at the Trawler Dinner Theater on the Eastern Shore and has had over ninety performances in Virginia and Maryland, as well as performances in Washington, D.C., New York City, and St. Petersburg, Russia. Readings using material from the play possibly exceed the number of actual productions and include readings for libraries, museums, universities, colleges, and literary festivals, as well as the Poetry Society of Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The poem/play won Port Folio magazine’s Most Innovative Theater Award. For its creation, the author won the Christians in Theater Arts Award. 

This musical play has been adapted from the book Hymn to the Chesapeake, ROAD Publishers, 33412 Lankford Highway, Painter, Virginia 23420. The author uses fragments of actual conversations, traditional melodies, adapted lyrics from traditional songs, captions, etc. He also uses the works of various painters, photographers, and writers as inspirations for various poems. 

Time: The present

Cast List: 

Tom Thatcher, a man in his late thirties
Grandpa, a man in his early sixties
Annie Drummond a woman who plays from sixteen to twenty-five
Aunt Kate, a woman in her sixties
Fishermen, all ages (two or three suggested) 
Fisherwomen, all ages (two or three suggested)

Note: Parts in script designated for Fisherman and Fisherwoman are suggested character and voice changes by the author. Directors should determine number of Fishermen and Fisherwomen to be used and designate specific assignments. Also, all of the principle characters may double as Fishermen or Fisherwomen. Hymn can be successfully performed with as few as five cast members and as many as sixteen. 

Place: The Eastern Shore of Virginia. A large farmhouse with a porch upstage center. Rocking chairs and planters are scattered about on the porch. Rain slicks for fishing are hanging on the porch railings. The place has not been well maintained, but it’s livable. There is an old pier reaching into the Chesapeake down stage left. Near the pier are crab traps, baskets of clams, nets, oyster shells, etc. At down stage left there is a garden. The scene begins with a dark stage

From the Play:

Fisherman: I remember
When the big freeze came 
and left the Patuxent sheeted
in fields of ice
and off the Virginia capes all the dredges
by necklaces of white

Fisherman: I remember 
the gusts of freezing rain 
the motionless tributaries
the swollen James
the ice breaker Annapolis
chuffing in its track

Fisherman: I remember the big ships—
Kate Darlington
and City of Norfolk--
trapped by the ice’s mass

(Stage grows darker)

Mother’s Voice: Tommy! Tommy. Come in from the weather.
As if from a silence, as if from deep water
and the bootblack cold parlor in the back 
of our house, my mother’s voice, surfacing
now, in memory, now dissolving...
Tommy, oh Tommy boy!
Tommy, oh Tommy boy!

Tom: Like ice. My mother listening at night in the cold parlor.
I remember I remember (Sound of foghorn)
Smokey Joe steaming out
in flakes of snow big as a hand
trailing smoke from his stack
Perry of the Love Point Ferry”
to the rescue
from the chill of Love Point
to the balladeers of Baltimore . . .
through the inky dark.
Tom: I remember I remember

musical, play, drama, comedy, full length,
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Hymn to the Chesapeake
E-Copy: 11.00 USD
Print Copy  10.50 + S/H

Production Information?
Production Copies: $9.00 W/Royalty
Royalty $40
Music Lead Sheet Rental:  35.00
Performance Royalty: $40.00/performance

Robert Arthur's Eastern Shore:  $13.95 + S/H

Also available in soft cover:

Robert Arthur's Eastern Shore

ROBERT ARTHUR'S EASTERN SHORE by Robert P. Arthur, twice nominated for Virginia's Poet Laureate: The book includes 4 one-act plays, a selection of his award-winning poems, and "Hymn to the Chesapeake," a play with music.  

Robert Arthur's Eastern Shore

Jellies at Night

They are souls I think
Of seamen drowned, adrift
In sails and bells
And trailing lace,
Of jelly massed,
Of the sea’s night froth

Of sea congealed
And rolling in

Here comes a tribe of them
Florescent in the mind
As jellied moons
No spines, no hearts to break
Or brains to formulate
An end of things

Moon jellies
The Sailor, By-the-Wind
And Lion’s Mane
An eternal dream
Of lace and wind
That stings . . .

Please choose the print copy, the e-copy, or the book from the drop-down menu below. (S/H is included in the print copy and book cost.) All our plays are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced or produced without permission. E-copies are sent via email within 24 hours of receipt of purchase.

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About the Playwright:

Robert P. Arthur is a multi-award winning playwright, poet, and novelist whose plays and poems have been presented internationally. His works include novels (Crazy Horse in Heaven); poem plays with music and for dance (Hymn to the Chesapeake; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Onley) , musicals (Dreams of Bonnie Prince Charlie); plays (Floyd Collins and the White Angels of Sand), among others. He is also a college professor.