J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the month “June, 2023”

New Musical: “The Lincolns of Springfield”

Young Abe and Mary

I was asked to help publicize a new musical that premiered on June 15 and will run up through July 30. Here is more information about the play, which looks like a lot of fun. Hopefully, you will be able to attend!

Abe and Mary’s Wedding

“The Lincolns of Springfield,” is a new musical showing in Springfield, Illinois; a town long associated with President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln.  … People interested in Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War are coming from throughout the country to attend a performance during the musical’s six week run.  We would like more people throughout the United States to know about this wonderful musical and come to Springfield on a fun summer road trip.  Additionally, Civil War reenactors who attend a performance in uniform will receive a lovely gift!  

The Lincolns of Springfield chronicles the incredible story of America’s greatest President and his much-loved wife, from their first meeting, through the end of the Civil War.  The audience is led down the highly improbable, yet entirely truthful, humorous and delightfully romantic path that leads to the courtship and marriage of the most unlikely of couples, the young Abe Lincoln and Mary Todd—America’s first power couple—whose husband freed a People and saved our country.

Abe and Mary in the White House


MATTHEW PATRICK DAVIS, DEBORAH ROBIN, ROSEMARY BLANKSON, and MICHAL DAWSON CONNOR bring Terrence L. Cranert’s stirring new musical love story to life. 
The cast is completed with a gospel choir featuring Jacquelyn Levy, Linda Broadus Miles, Lacy Nicole Mason, and Philip David Hunter and a talented ensemble featuring Noah Heie, Casey Ryan, Megan Holeman, Lauren Barette, Catherine Oregon, Christine Gillian, Matt DeNoto, and Michael Reese Shald.
This musical for the entire family premiered in Springfield, Illinois on June 15 at Hoogland Center for the Arts – Peggy Ryder Theater, 420 South Sixth Street, Springfield, Illinois, and runs through July 30.
The Lincolns of Springfield tells the love story you won’t find in the history books. The audience is led down a delightfully romantic path leading to the marriage of the most unlikely of couples, Mary Todd and Abe Lincoln, a Southern Belle and a backwoods genius. The Lincolns of Springfield chronicles the incredible story of one of America’s greatest President and his much-loved wife, from their first meeting through the end of the Civil War. From the moment the curtain rises, audiences are drawn into two very different worlds… Mary’s tumultuous world of the antebellum South—with gentility and honor juxtaposed against the backdrop of the scourge of slavery—and Abe’s vibrant, fearless world of possibilities that is America’s new frontier. Currently scheduled to perform throughout June and July at the Peggy Ryder Theater of the Hoogland Center for the Arts, the producers are currently in negotiation to bring the production to the New York stage.


MATTHEW PATRICK DAVIS (ABRAHAM LINCOLN)   Broadway credits include Side Show. Regional credits include The Wizard of Oz (TACFA); The Nightingale, Limelight, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (La Jolla Playhouse); A Cinderella Christmas, South Street (Pasadena Playhouse); Haunted House Party (Getty Villa); Four Chords and a Gun (Bootleg Theater); The Complete History of America (abridged) (Falcon Theatre). He is a recipient of the LA Ovation Award.

DEBORAH ROBIN (MARY TODD LINCOLN)   has also played the lead character of Doris Day in Day After Day: The Life and Music of Doris Day for which she was named Best Actress in a Musical by the Orange County Theater Guild. She also played Mary Poppins at Center Theater Group, Christine in Phantom of the Opera and Belle in Beauty & the Beast among others. 

ROSEMARY BLANKSON (ELIZABETH KECKLEY)   is also a licensed music educator and experienced vocal coach and has taught both in Georgia and California. Rosemary is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and originated the role of Elizabeth Keckley in the debut of The Lincolns of Springfield in 2009. She has starred in many theatrical and stage productions including Hairspray, Once on This Island, Smokey Joe’s Cafe and Thoroughly Modern Millie, to name a few.

MICHAL DAWSON CONNOR (TOM LINCOLN)   is an accomplished performer and composer of choral, chamber, and solo vocal works, with a particular emphasis on slave songs created before the Civil War. Broadway credits include featured performances in the Tony-Award winning productions of RAGTIME and SHOWBOAT as well as starring roles in productions of THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, BIG RIVER, and PORGY AND BESS. He’s immensely proud of performing for Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Reverend Billy Graham, Elizabeth Dole, and Admiral Michael Mullen.


Latest Review:   

A Beautiful Glittering Lie Receives Another Awesome Review

My novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, has received another review on Goodreads. This book is the first one in the Renegade Series, which tells the story of a family from north Alabama, and how the Civil War impacts their lives. Thank you so much, Sophie Narey, for your flattering review!

Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)

This is not the usual type of book that I read but the blurb was the thing that completely drew me into it. This is the first book in the series, set in the Civil War, we follow Hiram Summers as he is thrown into the combat, his family who have to stay behind struggle without him there but know he had to enlist and fight for the cause. Hiram and his son uncover the meaning of the war and soon realize that the choices they have made have torn the family they love apart.

It is brilliantly written, it has lots of action, secrets and drama to keep hold of your attention and keep you reading on. The book is only 199 pages which for me is the perfect length of book in this genre, it is quick to read for the fact it flows so well throughout the book. It definitely makes me want to read on the rest of the series.

A New Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

I just received a new review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, which is the first book in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Rachel, for your five-star review on Goodreads!

June 12, 2023

This book is a very well written novel set during the Civil War, apparently the first of a series. Hawkins does a wonderful job telling the story from the Confederate side, and creating characters that the reader will care about. There is so much Civil War history included that anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction would benefit from picking up this story. I was impressed with the southern drawl that most of the characters had and how it was consistent throughout the entire book.

Awesome Review from Kirkus Reviews

My latest novel, Double-Edged Sword, just received a review from Kirkus Reviews. Thank you for the amazing review!

In the wake of the Civil War, a former Confederate soldier encounters problems with the law in Hawkins’ historical-fiction series installment.

In this fourth volume in the Renegade series, the author centers on her main character, ex-Confederate cavalryman David Summers, and his Pennsylvania-born wife Anna, who, after surviving the recently ended war, are making their way in Richmond, Virginia. There, they see the devastation all around them: “The Stars and Stripes waved atop flagpoles, only four months ago replacing the grand Blood-Stained Banner, a flagrant reminder of the recent victory won.” They’re hoping to make a better life for themselves in David’s hometown in Morgan County, Alabama. Little do they know that they will soon cross paths again with Stephen Montgomery, a nefarious, charismatic sergeant-major from earlier series entries—a schemer who had designs not only on Anna but on her family’s property. After he re-enters the couple’s lives, a violent confrontation leads to David being put on trial before a judge and jury who are far from sympathetic to the former Confederate soldier. Even though David swore an oath of allegiance to the United States of America, it’s not just the prosecuting attorney who suspects him of “still fighting the war.” As in the previous books in this series, Hawkins manages to craft a simple story that has plenty of energy and heart; it effectively features tested romance, rivalry, and courtroom drama. Its consistent readability goes a long way to compensate for the fact that David often comes off as belligerent and unpleasant. The … novel’s evocation to the postwar South (“Lonesome chimneys jutted from the landscape; ravaged reminders of the horrors his people had seen”) are uniformly well done. An atmospheric and often engaging drama of the Reconstruction-era South.

Post Navigation