Media & Reviews

Jay Nickerson plays the determination and doubts of the Civil War General William Tecuseh Sherman in "  Atlanta Burning Sherman's Shadows."

Jay Nickerson plays the determination and doubts of the Civil War General William Tecuseh Sherman in "Atlanta Burning Sherman's Shadows."

Fringe shows went well and there appeared great reviews from Kansas City, Minneapolis and Indianapolis critics.

Atlanta Burning Sherman’s Shadows
By Kelly Luck, KC Stage, July 22, 2018

Sherman’s Aide (Lynn Lohr) debates the General’s plans for Atlanta.

Sherman’s Aide (Lynn Lohr) debates the General’s plans for Atlanta.

The march of Sherman through Georgia is one of the critical points in the Civil War, and one whose scars are still felt in some quarters. In his one-man show, Lance Sherman Belville, a descendent of the general, has recreated his namesake at camp, getting ready to move into Atlanta. As the evening proceeds, he finalizes his plans, briefs his officers (we, the audience), and debates with his aide over the ethics and consequences of what he is about to do.

There is much time dedicated to both the art and craft of war, the all-important logistics of supply lines, the dread algebra of human cost per mile gained. It is a fascinating look at not only the general but the man: well educated, lover of Caesar and Bonaparte’s histories, a gentleman who knew full well the ethical consequences of his deeds, but saw no better way to do what he knew had to be done.

Mr. Belville’s work presents itself as based not only on historical fact, but also unpublished Sherman family history. This only enhances the intimate feeling of the production. It is a fascinating glimpse into a man who burned his way across the pages of American history.

Minnesota Fringe review: Atlanta Burning, Sherman’s Shadows
By DOMINIC P. PAPATOLA, Special to the Saint Paul Pioneer Press
PUBLISHED: August 4, 2018 at 7:56 am | UPDATED: August 4, 2018 at 4:13 pm

General Sherman (Jay Nickerson) decides to attack Atlanta.

General Sherman (Jay Nickerson) decides to attack Atlanta.

History Theatre founders Lance Belville and Lynn Lohr return to the Twin Cities after a lot of years with Belville’s glimpse into the mind of General William Tecumseh Sherman in the days before he laid siege to Atlanta. Framed as a conversation with one of his aides (played by Lohr, who also directs), the show features a grave, gravelly-voiced and quietly charismatic Jay Nickerson as Sherman, weighing his own doubts about a scorched-earth strategy with his duty to country.  Elegantly written and deftly performed, it’s a deep dive into history, leavened with humanity.

Atlanta Burning by Andrew Ball, Aug 19, 2018, Indianapolis Fringe 2018

The playwright (performed by Jay Nickerson) considers Sherman’s Shadows.

The playwright (performed by Jay Nickerson) considers Sherman’s Shadows.

In sharp contrast to some of the song, dance and high comedy of the festival, Atlanta Burning is a serious presentation of the William Tecumseh Sherman’s march to Atlanta during the civil war. For those of you not familiar with the civil war, this is considered to be one of the turning points of the war.

AUDIENCE REACTIONS for: Atlanta Burning Sherman's Shadows

Gregg G
Interesting insight into the decisions before the destruction of Atlanta. Very enjoyable play.”

Erik A
“I enjoyed this very much -- a compelling story, well written, with a fine central performance by Jay Nickerson and strong support from Lynn Lohr. Highly recommend it.”

Janet B
Engaging moral exploration and character development.”

 Valorie B
“Very good. Different point of view. Worth seeing.”

 Adam B.
“A conflicted man. 
A unique way of presenting a man and a moment in history that, while still shaping the world around us, has largely passed from general memory. It was well-written and masterfully delivered.”

 Bill T.
“Much better than expected. Pleasantly surprised at this show. I got dragged to this show expecting just s history lesson. Ha! For those of you who think...naaa. Think again. You won't be dissapointed. The acting was first class!”

Carole W.
Thought provoking show.
”Audience members became part of Sherman's officer corps as he and his aide wrestled with the moral ambiguities of war. Secrets were told, letters read, news delivered and tactics discussed in an illuminating discussion detailing certainties and doubts as Sherman planned his March to the Sea. This is theater as it should be: thought provoking and excellent.”

 Corrie F.
Deeper into the Atlanta Campaign.
… General Sherman's intellectual and moral prowess are brought to the forefront = very interesting. The debates between Sherman and his aide remind us of not only history, but the moral dilemmas of a professional soldier. BTW, my sister went not knowing much about the Burning of Atlanta, until I reminded her that we had both read Gone with the Windwhen we were young. Oh yeah, now it makes sense!”

Darryl S. 
“Informing and Entertaining.
Atlanta Burning is well written and well acted. Jay Nickerson does a great job as General Sherman. This is "living history" at its best. Unlike most other Union Generals, Sherman understood what it was going to take to win and end the America Civil War, however he struggled with the strategy and tactics that this undertaking would require. Atlanta Burning does a very good job of presenting this conundrum with the dialogue between Sherman and his staff officers (which includes you as a audience member. “

Dave L.  
“Interesting history, well told.”

Gayle Peterson 
“Remarkable parallels in history.
The actors were able to transport the audience back in time to feel the pain and duty of a general and his aide when confronting the harsh realities of the civil war. It raised the questioned of what is the moral compass in an immoral world. A must see!”

Jon S 
“Meet General Sherman Enroute to Atlanta, You may not see a better Fringe performance…” 

Lauren P
“Compelling production.”

Margaret T 
An interesting piece of theater probing the mind of a general who committed one of the most horrific acts in American history to quel and win a war. Justified? Even Sherman wonders and so will you during this hour of engagement.”

Mark R 
“Do not miss this gem!” 
As someone born in Georgia and steeped in Civil War history this performance filled in a missing piece for me. Everyone in our audience was drawn right into the marvelous drama by the back and forth between General Sherman and his personal staff - and the moral, ethical and personal dilemmas of scorched earth war fighting.”

Mary W
“Engaging performances, great writing, lovely exploration of the thought processes behind a big moment in history.”

Tom Thurston 

“Portrait of Sherman at a crucial moment.
A highly polished portrait of Sherman at a turning point in the Civil War and US history. Intimate portrayal on the verge of his entry into Atlanta, his understanding of what he needs to do, and the pressures around him. Well written and performed.”


The team that brought you Qaddafi's Cook, playwright Lance Belville and director Lynn Lohr, now bring you Atlanta Burning. Watch the video below to hear about the kind of experience that Lohr and Belville deliver.