Courtesy of the Barter Theatre

Chavez Ravine plays one of the leading roles in the musical “Civil War Voices,” opening here April 8.

Inspired by diary entries, Barter Theatre's production of the musical "Civil War Voices" will offer seven performances beginning next month at Memminger Auditorium.

Part of the Sesquicentennial observance here, the musical runs April 8-12.

Playwright Jim Harris weaves the true stories of five individuals of the era, their experiences lent emotional resonance by the musical arrangements of Mark Hayes, who enlivens classic period compositions.

"Harris shines a light on these people of the Civil War as told through their diaries and letters," said Richard Rose, producing artistic director of the Abingdon, Va.-based Barter Theatre. "The result is a poignant, moving, historically accurate story."

People living in the North and the South harbored the same fears, uncertainties, sacrifices and triumphs, said Harris.

"I have tried to capture the real people, the real songs, and ultimately the real heart of a country divided."

The story emerged, in part, from the pages of a diary kept by Harris' great, great uncle, Joseph Henry Harris.

"Something happened to me that fundamentally changed the way I 'felt' about this conflict," the playwright said. "As I read the diary my uncle left behind, I could feel the warm breath of his life and times on every page. I began to hear music, the passionate and heartfelt music of the Civil War."

Harris' dramatization, paired with Hayes' arrangements, was one of the highlights of the Midtown International Theatre Festival, held last year in New York.