Ghosts of Celilo, image by David Straub

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View preview on You Tube Winner of 8 Portland Area Musical Theatre Awards: Best Set Design, Best Light Design, Best Musical Direction, Best Director, Best Production, Best Original Song, Best Original Score, Best Original Musical

This ground-breaking production weaves a bittersweet love story within a mystery and features a haunting score of Native American music and traditional musical theatre songs.

The Ghosts of Celilo (suh-LIE-low) is a musical play based on true events that happened near Celilo Falls in the 1950s. Celilo was one of the world’s premiere fisheries and a cultural and spiritual center for native people before it was inundated by the Dalles Dam in 1957.

Ghosts features Native American music and traditional musical theatre genres telling the story of two Indian boys kidnapped and taken to a government boarding school. There, they are befriended by the white daughter of the school’s administrator. The three make a daring escape to catch their ceremonial first salmon before Celilo Falls is buried by the closing of the dam gates. This story is ‘remembered’ by four colorful ghosts who have been stuck at the bottom of the Columbia River for fifty years on the last remnants of fishing platforms that have been buried underwater where Celilo Falls once roared.

This dramatic musical is acted and sung by Native American and non-Native actors. The score is a powerful combination of music that combines Native American song and scoring with music more familiar to musical theatre.

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