Sunday November 29th, 2015 5:32AM

GTA students create musical based on Civil War life

By Alyson Shields Reporter
GAINESVILLE - If you've lived in Gainesville for any length of time, then you probably know the name James Longstreet, the storied Civil War General from the area. Now, a group of Gainesville Theatre Alliance students is using Longstreet's Piedmont Hotel to introduce an original musical.

The Longstreet Society and the Gainesville Theatre Alliance (GTA) are teaming up Saturday, October 26 for a preview of The Holler, a love story set during the Civil War.

"The students are going to do some scenes and a couple of the musical numbers," said Longstreet Society President Peter Claymore. "It'll be outside. The students are going to do it on the veranda of the hotel and the audience will have the lawn."

Beth Kendall with GTA has worked with the students as they created the musical. She says the production is "an epic story of love and brotherhood." While the production has no direct relation to Longstreet, his story and his Piedmont Hotel are perfect tie-ins for the Civil War story.

Claymore said the Piedmont was a stop for many a tourist from Atlanta who traveled to Gainesville to drink "the waters," thought to have curative powers.

"It was a two-wing, three story hotel, basically a tourist-level hotel," said Claymore.

Longstreet, who built the Piedmont in the 1870s and ran in until his death in 1904, was quite the host, according to Claymore.

"General Longstreet entertained a number of distinguished visitors over time - senior officers of both the North and the South and...[President] Woodrow Wilson."

In addition to seeing excerpts from the musical, visitors will also have a chance to tour the refurbished Piedmont, which is operated by the Longstreet Society.

The event, which begins at 2 p.m. at the hotel at 827 Maple Street in Gainesville, is free and open to the public

Claymore says light refreshments will be served, including banana pudding from Gainesville's Longstreet Cafe.

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