West Coast Premiere

Necessary Sacrifices

Written by Richard Hellesen

Necessary SacrificesExtended by Popular Demand!

Directed by Peter Ellenstein
Featuring Ray Chambers and Hawthorne James

Based on the two documented meetings between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass at the height of the Civil War, Necessary Sacrifices reveals the anguish and emotions of these two leaders as they grapple with war, peace, politics and moral courage. Originally commissioned by Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D. C., North Coast Rep’s West Coast premiere puts audiences squarely in the room where history happened. With its strong echoes of today’s political landscape, this riveting drama will captivate history buffs and theatre-lovers alike.


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What The Critic's Are Saying

  • This filmed play is scads more absorbing than the ubiquitous Zoom theater projects out there. It’s nearly two hours of tense confrontation between two towering historical figures.

    – David Coddon, The San Diego Union~Tribune

  • This intimate play is well suited for being filmed on stage as the Douglass and Lincoln move from pleasant discussion to outright debate on issues. James has the charisma and the gravitas for the formidable and impassioned Douglass, while Chambers' Lincoln is a pragmatic man aware of his responsibilities and yet able to retain his sense of humor about the absurdities of the game of politics in Washington.

    – E.H Reiter, BroadwayWorld.com

  • A brilliant script by Richard Hellesen brought Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass back to life face-to-face on my computer screen. I felt like a fly on the wall (better than a front-row seat) watching two brilliant portrayals by Hawthorne James as Douglass, and Ray Chambers as Lincoln.

    – Sheldon Merril, JewishWorld.com

  • Masterful Acting. Powerful Content. North Coast Repertory has outclassed the rest of the county theatres in these uncertain times by producing quality entertainment worth paying for online, which can be conveniently enjoyed on your schedule.

    – Kathy Carpenter, Splash Magazine

  • A brilliant opener for North Coast Repertory’s 39th season. It is two hours of compelling entertainment. Together the two actors recreate discussions of an era that are not only believable but compelling to watch. This production is inviting in every way and provides sterling entertainment for the entire family especially from junior high school ages and up. This production is rated a solid 10 out of 10.

    – Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal, The Village News, Fallbrook

  • If you love theatrical productions, North Coast Repertory Theatre, in Solana Beach, has just the play for you. Not only is this a chance to see a beautifully directed and produced play, but the choice for their production could not have been more appropriate for this time in our nation’s history.

    – Tom Robertson, The Vista Press

  • What North Coast Repertory Theatre has mounted is Helleson’s intelligent, insightful, engaging play. Hawthorne James as Frederick Douglass, is a magnetic actor. When the camera is on him, so are all eyes. It’s a nicely nuanced performance. Mr. Chambers creates a President Lincoln persona that both compliments his performance and resonates with the audience. Both Mr. James and Mr. Chambers acquit themselves with honesty and conviction in their portrayals of real historical figures.

    – Jack Lyons, Desert Local News

  • Absorbing, close to flawless production. That being said, this particular production of “Necessary Sacrifices” comes as close to being in the intimate space of the theatre as one can get without actually having you tush in a theatre seat.

    – Carol Davis, Critic

  • Richard Helleson's script is full of intelligent dialogue, with eloquent writing for Douglass and Lincoln. His prose showcases the professional and personal lives of the duo, which humanizes the leaders.

    – David Dixon, San Diego Story

  • Chambers and James both mount strong, fascinating performances in this recording, which has all the production value of a traditional play, plus the benefit of professional film editing.

    – Dan Letchworth, San Diego Magazine

  • This captivating performance offers a fascinating look into the hearts, souls, and thought processes of Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln during a time in history when our country was so divided over racial equality and justice. The acting is mesmerizing and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

    – Andy Lee, Publisher, North County Sun

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