“The audience will be traveling through time and space over a period of several thousand years,” says Bart Kuebler, music and artistic director of Zeiders American Dream Theater, of the new musical Remembering Tomorrow: The Lives of Edgar Cayce. An enigmatic figure with ties to local history and landmarks and considered the father of the holistic health movement, Cayce was sometimes dubbed “The Sleeping Prophet” for his purported psychic abilities while in an unconscious state.
Cayce founded the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) in Virginia Beach’s North End in 1931, and the original 1928 hospital building he imagined as an international destination for healing still stands as the A.R.E. headquarters, carrying on Cayce’s legacy and offering “mind-spirit resources for individuals to explore meditation, intuition, dream interpretation, prayer, holistic health, ancient mysteries and philosophical concepts, such as karma, reincarnation and the meaning of life.”
It’s not the first foray into the life of a historical personality with an aura of spiritual mystery for writing team Michael Cooper and Anton Dudley, whose Second to Nun explored the incredible journey of Marguerite Bourgeoys, a French nun who eventually became Canada’s first female Catholic saint. “They treated her story with such reverence and awe,” says Kuebler, “so there’s a lot of trust here—that demonstrated record of what they did with telling the story of this monumental life.”
Courtesy of Edgar Cayce Foundation
For their research for Remembering Tomorrow, Cooper and Dudley were given unfettered access to the Cayce archives at A.R.E. and even stayed in a guest house on the property where they were able to immerse themselves in his life and work. The musical features a cast of eight performers, including three key characters—Cayce, his wife Gertrude Evans Cayce and his longtime secretary Gladys Davis Turner. Cayce and his family resided in Virginia Beach until shortly before his death in 1945, and he is thought to have committed himself so intensively to his work as a psychic in his final years that it led to an irrevocable decline in his own health.
Part of Zeiders’ Hatchery Series, which focuses on the development of new work and allows audiences to experience the creative process up close, Remembering Tomorrow will be presented as a staged reading March 12–14 in their Studio Theater with costumes, basic sets and props. The musical accompaniment will include live piano and percussion, likely drawing on an array of styles and influences from different time periods and diverse cultures—apropos of Cayce’s vision of a world beyond physical and mental barriers.
For tickets, information and a full schedule of upcoming events at Zeiders American Dream Theater, visit TheZ.org.