The musical traces Kinderhook’s history back to the supposed beginning of the world and the formation of its landscape starting 4.5 billion years ago, which lead to the first humans settling in the area roughly 12-30,000 years ago, alternatively referencing Mohican and other Algonquin creation and migration stories.
The first documented European contact in the area took place in 1609 when Henry Hudson sailed up the river which now bears his name for the Dutch East Indian Company, encountering the Mohican people of the river valley.
The town of Kinderhook was one of the earliest Dutch settlements in the “New World”, and as such its history, lore, and legends tell a microcosmic version of U.S. and world history replete with the inherent effects of imperialism, war, ethnic cleansing, slavery, and class struggle as well as all of the polarizing issues of today.
With these bloody and difficult truths ever-present, the musical simultaneously focuses on the human scale, embracing the small triumphs of human imagination and ingenuity, and working to strengthen bonds within existing communities by inviting them together to reinterpret Kinderhook’s history from both outside and within.
The first publication below provides a detailed overview of the history of Kinderhook as well as the context of the project. The second publication is an in-depth interview with Kinderhook resident Bruce G. Hallenbeck about the history of the supernatural in the region.