The Characters

The Chorus

“Everyone should be free to follow their dreams and be who they want to be. You said that just a few hours ago. Well this is the only dream I have. It’s time for you to grow up and open your eyes. Everyone in this show is hiding behind some character we put on that stage, and you’re no different. Every one of us is broken. You say you want to trust somebody to tell you the truth. Well, this is it, Lincoln. No more illusions for you. I am the truth. All I want is for you to see me, to believe in me!”

Alex

LINCOLN FOSTER(The central character)

Lincoln is a 12- 14 year emotionally sensitive boy who wants the validation of theater life, where he can shine beyond his naturally introverted nature. He has a lot of talent, and why not. His parents are a famous early Broadway couple who perform in Ziegfeld’s follies next to W. C. Fields, Eddie Cantor, Josephine Baker, Bert Williams, and Will Rogers.

With those genes and those people to grow up around, Lincoln should have been a shoo-in as a young star in the Great White Way. Only two things stopped him, his parents. 

His mother, in her own fear, wants to keep him away from theater and be a lawyer like her father. His father has abandoned and emotionally abused him, causing trust issues, then comes back, offering him his dream but making him choose between his parents, a life-changing choice between two negatives.

His story is a coming-of-age one, where he must choose not only between his parents but what and who is truly important in his life. 

 MARGERY FOSTER:

Broadway star now reduced to traveling in Midwest tent shows after the separation from her husband/stage partner. She is Lincoln’s Mom and refuses to acknowledge his dreams and talent because she fears the life he might have based on her life struggles. When Oliver returns to take Lincoln away, she must rediscover who she was before being dominated by her husband, and deal with the fear that will drive her son away.

CHARLEY GOLDSBERRY:

Charley is sharp. In school, he excelled sports, sang in the glee club, played trumpet and baritone in the town band, and always had something clever to say. The guy everyone liked. He’s also the guy no one really knew. 

His parents loved him, but his father, the blacksmith, was the type of guy for whom showing emotion was just not done. When Charley found a mystery that split his father’s family in two, his father refused to talk about it. It didn’t stop his dad from crying in the dark when he thought no one could hear him. 

So now that Charley decided that going out on the road to do what came so naturally to him was where his path would lead him, he’s unsure. There’s a big hole in his heart that he doesn’t know how to fill. 

Then he hears Lincoln singing of his pain when the boy thought no one could hear him either.

ALEX:

12-year-old Alex has some of the first lines in the show, barking up an audience for the opening number, and ends it with a tearful yet triumphant “We Are Astrolabe!” In between, he sells popcorn by walking through the audience. Yes, for real, he will sell you a little greasy paper bag of popcorn for a nickel. He will trade quips, laugh, and help to seat the audience.

He is kind and helpful, and when he meets Lincoln, he will understand because Alex is broken too. He has been abused and abandoned because he is transgender. Disowned by his family, he has taken refuge in The Astrolabe Theater Company, who have made him family, given him somewhere safe, and a way to interact with the world.

He found his joy as a dancer. He will find his future with Lincoln and Margery. First, however, he needs to find the courage to tell Lincoln his secret. When you have been rejected so often, it’s a frightening prospect.

ROBERTA (Madam Ravin):

Roberta is a groundbreaker, and for good reason. An extraordinary singer, and stylish dancer, only one thing stood in her way of great fame. Racial prejudice. Being a black entertainer in 1918 generally meant either minstrel shows, where she was the butt of stereotypical jokes, or playing the “Dudley Circuit,” small venues for black audiences through the south. But Roberta had bigger dreams.

She reinvented herself with the Astrolabe Theater Company, taking the epithet “crow,” and choosing to own it rather than be cowed by it. Thus was born “Madam Ravin,” who added something mesmerizing to her act that no black woman had ever done, magic.

She casts a spell of doubt with illusions that baffle her mostly white audiences and leave them open to the possibility of change.

And change is what “The Tent of Stars” is all about.

HELOISE DU PARACLETE & PETER ABELARD:

The tragic medieval couple, forced by society to live their lives apart, were united only in death. Or so we thought. Seven hundred years later, they are together in a second chance, gifted by their only child Astrolabe, who sewed his prayers and love into a miraculous tent to give them and everyone else who resides within it, help, solace, and a second chance to find their dreams. Heloise is the stage mom for the cast, and Peter is the director. Both lament the son they barely knew, who gave them such a gift to share with the world.

OLIVER FOSTER:

Margery’s estranged husband, now regretting running off with a starlet and wants to win his family back. He is as close as the show gets to having a ‘villain’ but sees himself just as the survivor.

GEORGE:

George is a mystery character. He appears as Abe Lincoln and Mark Twain, seems to be around at opportune moments to move events along, and dances with the chorus in an ever-changing array of outlandish costumes, but the shadow he casts is not his.

When the shadow finally speaks, it addresses Peter and Heloise as Mother and Father.