The Thinking  Behind SIDES 

Intersecting history, theatre, music, literature and (yes) current affairs.

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Buy our book, CD and karaoke tracks! (Coming soon)

    Welcome to our musical.

Sides. They define us, conflict us, bedevil and unite us. At times they align with geometric precision like facets of a diamond or notes in a musical chord. At other times they can shatter a mother’s heart, pit brother against brother or divide a committed soldier’s sense of duty and honor. 


There is much in today’s red and blue divide that echoes the old blue and gray antagonisms. If we’ve learned anything in the ensuing 150 years, surely it is that, during times of crisis we must charge towards our brothers, not with bayonets, but with a renewed sense of shared humanity. Alas, easier said than done. SIDES joins this crucial debate, a gauntlet of song lashed to the tragic repetition of history.

Learn more about SIDES from this interview with play-wright Norman Ball by Dr. Jim Beeghley of Teaching the Civil War Podcast. Here's part one...

Part two of the podcast...

Take a listen to some of the great songs from SIDES! 


Here's Robin Ingenito singing 'A Mother's Tears' to the heart-wrenching images of American Gold Star Mothers and their lost young warriors.

As Nat Turner lies wrapped in chains awaiting his ex-ecution, he has a vision of the war to come. For some, Turner was the Great Preparer, a John the Baptist figure. For others, he was nothing less than a cold-blooded terrorist. Sound familiar?  'Nat Turner's Dream' is sung here by the amazing B. Jackson Caesar.

New Jersey's very own Jenn Colten brings 'Becca's Song' to life...

Laura Campos offers a fabulous take on 'Perfect Union'...

Playwright Norman Ball gets into the act with a few SIDES songs of his own. More can be heard here.

'Who Is on My Side?' Sometimes in life it's hard to tell! War doesn't make it any easier...

So why did Henry Fleming decide to join up with the Union as a young man? 'Blue and Gray Matters' tells the tale...

As it turns out, Henry has an older brother in the war, Michael. (Not in the the play!) As luck would have it Michael is fighting on the opposing Confederate side. Brother against Brother indeed.


Near the conclusion of the war, Michael, half-crazy from losing Becca and still wearing his frayed gray tunic, heads north determined to reunite with Henry. Unfor-tunately, Union snipers have a whole 'nother idea...

Time for a little history. The Battle of the Crater figures prominently in SIDES. Here's Henry filling us in on his part in that horrible battle (Hint: have you counted your legs lately?)

For all you karaoke fans out there, SIDES has a DVD of all your favorite songs like 'Blue and Gray Matters'...

Buy the book here (421pp) at Amazon, Smashwords (epub, mobi, pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb, txt, html) and Kindle. This is an indispensable book for the classroom, home study or theatre group:


  • A foreward by historian and playwright Christopher George
  • An introduction to the Compendium by Norman Ball
  • Stephen Crane's unabridged novel 'The Red Badge of Courage'
  • The Play 'SIDES' by Norman Ball
  • The Play 'Yours' by Richard D. Stafford (see a Civil War News review here.)
  • 'A War of Letters' an interview with Indiana University's Dr. Steven M. Stowe
  • 'When All Things Said Feel Done’, an essay on William Dean Howells by Norman Ball
  • 'Re-Imaging the Civil War: Authenticity in Painting, Photography, The Red Badge of Courage and SIDES’ by Eric Gislason of U.Va.

On the shoulders of giants, one generation elevates the next. Learn more about one of the 'guiding images' of SIDES here.

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