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Last year, a small ensemble of performers took stage at The Orpheum to perform portions of an original musical called 1619: The Journey of a People as part of the Galesburg Public Library’s Big Read celebration. It was at that point when a first impression was made.

“I was positively blown away by the performance: the sheer talent of the performers, the incredibly important stories of American history being told, and the raw heart and soul that you could feel in the room,” Orpheum Executive Director Erin Glasnovich remembers. “When I came to understand that what I saw was part of a larger musical, I knew we had to get the entire show on The Orpheum stage.” That show will indeed take stage at The Orpheum Theatre on Friday, February 3, 2023 at 7:00pm. 1619: The Journey of a People is a new musical written and produced by Ted Williams III. This masterfully woven series of performance pieces will leave audiences both inspired and challenged about the progress of America’s African sons and daughters.

In 1619, twenty enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. The 400-year journey that followed would change a nation: and the world. From the beginning of American slavery to the Revolutionary War, Reconstruction, the Great Migration, and the Civil Rights Era, 1619 packs generations of history into a two-hour musical theatre experience. Using various musical forms including hip-hop and jazz, this production takes audiences on a journey that illuminates the past while also tackling important contemporary issues. The production of 1619 features a dynamic cast of singers, actors, spoken word artists, and dancers who reflect on the past while tackling critical contemporary social issues. With an appeal for all ages, this production reminds us that on the other side of the trial lies greatness.

Tickets to this show are $25 for adults and $15 for students and youth, available by contacting The Orpheum Box Office via phone (309.342.2299) or in-person at 57 S. Kellogg Street in Downtown Galesburg during operating hours of 10am-2pm, Tuesday thru Friday. Tickets are always available online 24/7 at

Organizations, clubs and educational institutions that are interested in attending as a group are invited to discuss benefits of group attendance by contacting Erin at

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