The Characters

The Chorus

LINCOLN FOSTER Our protagonist

Lincoln is a 12- 14 year emotionally sensitive boy who wants to do theater. He has a lot of talent, and that should be no surprise.
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 story is a coming-of-age one, where he must not only choose between his parents but also who and what is truly important in his life.

MARGERY FOSTER:

Margery was born into a wealthy law family in the 1880s, encouraged in the arts, not law, and learned to sing and dance from a young age.

As her career grew, she became famous as half of “The Fosters” with her husband Oliver, taking the Great White Way by storm.

But it all came crashing down when Oliver had a dalliance with a showgirl. Margery took her only child out of the public eye and headed for seclusion in the relative anonymity of a Midwest tent show. Realizing she has been under the weight of her passive-aggressive husband for so long, she needs to find out who she is all over again.

ALEX

Alex has some of the first lines in the show, barking up an audience for the opening number, and ends it with a triumphant “We Are Astrolabe!” In between, he sells popcorn and works as the magic assistant.

He was abused and abandoned by his family when he was given refuge with The Astrolabe Theater Company.

He found his joy as a dancer. He will find his future on the other side of the canvas. First, however, he must find the courage to trust his new friend. When you have been rejected so often, you build walls to protect yourself. Letting anyone in is a frightening prospect.

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.

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 throughout the south. But Roberta had bigger dreams.

As her song states, one night, while drowning her sorrows, she saw a magic act on a cabaret stage and hit on the idea of a persona unlike anything done before. She learned and incorporated illusions with her music and dancing under the name Madam Raven, an act so novel that she ended up performing with the Astrolabe Company.

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. Their only child together, probably the only child ever named Astrolabe, was sent to live with Heloise’s sister, himself cut off from his parents. By the time they had died, his parents had both been excommunicated, and by their own beliefs, they would be banished to limbo. But Astrolabe was unlike anyone else. He was the product of two of the world’s finest minds. He understood belief.

Nine hundred years later, Peter & Heloise are together in a second chance, gifted by their child, 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. Now in the roles of stage mom and director, they seek the lost and move the future. But they cannot see the shadow of their own regret. Or so they think.

OLIVER FOSTER:

Margery’s estranged husband, now regretting running off with a starlet and wants to win his family back. He is, in some ways, Lincoln gone wrong. In his quest for acceptance, he finds it hard to share the spotlight and reacts in a very passive-aggressive way to those who challenge him, his own son included. He is as close as the show gets to having a ‘villain’.

GEORGE:

George is a mystery character. His background is never revealed, and most of his stage time is interrupted by backstage events. He appears as Abe Lincoln briefly before a wardrobe malfunction cuts his act short. He shows up again with words of advice for Alex, then as Mark Twain giving the boys stage time together as Tom & Huck. He sings and dances with the chorus in an ever-changing array of outlandish costumes and seems to be around at opportune moments to move events along, but George’s words to Alex are deep ones. His true nature is more profound than he first seems.

Astrolabe:

Astrolabe, having seen his parents’ tragic life play out to its end, sews the tent to give them the life together they never had in a little portable pocket of Limbo. They, in turn, take it out into the world to do what they can to find others with tragic lives, sparing them the fate that they suffered.

He himself remains as only a shadow of a child, a memory of the “poor little chap” Heloise and Peter never experienced as young parents. They never see or hear him, but he watches over them nonetheless. He jostles memories and whispers into the soul, helping to guide everyone in the tent toward the horizon of hope for the world.