Join us for an advance screening of the debut episode of Mercy Street, a PBS series set in the Civil War era.

Writer/showrunner David Zabel ’88 will participate in a panel discussion with historians James MacPherson and Audrey P. Davis, along with actors Josh RadnorMcKinley Belcher III and Tara Summers, moderated by Program in Creative Writing professor Christina Lazaridi.

December 7, 2015
James M. Stewart ’32 Theater
185 Nassau Street

6:15 pm pre-event public reception
7:00 pm screening & panel discussion

Free & open to the public. Reservations required.

* Mercy Street premieres Sunday, January 17, 10/9c

Trailer / Preview

Panel Participants





David Zabel
wrote for the NBC medical series ER from 2001-2009, serving the last five years as its showrunner. He wrote more than 45 episodes of the program and was a recipient of a Prism Award and a Humanitas Prize. Subsequently, Zabel was showrunner and Executive Producer of ABC’s 2010-11 police series, Detroit 1-8-7, starring Michael Imperioli. In 2013, he was Executive Producer/showrunner for two shows he developed on ABC, Betrayal and Lucky 7.  He directed several episodes of ER, Detroit 1-8-7 and Betrayal.  Currently, he is developing a number of television projects for Sony Pictures Studios, including an adaptation of Naoki Urosawa’s classic manga “Monster,” which he is producing with Guillermo del Toro. Zabel’s earlier credits include JAG, James Cameron’s Dark Angel and Star Trek: Voyager.

James McPherson was born in North Dakota and grew up in Minnesota, where he graduated with highest honors from Bustavus Adolphus College in 1958.  He earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1963.  From 1962 until his retirement in 2004 he taught in the History Department at Princeton, where he is now the George Henry Davis ’86 Professor of American History Emeritus.  He is the author of more than 15 books and the editor of another 10, mostly on the era of the American Civil War and Reconstruction.  His books have won several prizes, most notably the Pulitzer Prize in History (1989) for Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era and two Lincoln Prizes (1998 and 2009) for For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War and Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief.  He has won numerous other awards as well, including the Pritzker Prize (2007) for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. He is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has served as president of the Society of American Historians and the American Historical Association.

Audrey P. Davis is Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum in Alexandria, Virginia.  She joined the museum’s staff in 1993. Davis is a graduate of the University of Virginia with Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Art History. She is a past President of the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM), one of the largest regional museum associations in the United States. Davis was president of the Alexandria Historical Society from 2009 -2011, and currently serves as Vice President. She is one of five authors for the book African Americans of Alexandria, Virginia:  Beacons of Light in the 20th Century (2013 History Press). In 2004, Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner appointed Davis to a three-year term on the board of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, in Charlottesville, VA. In 2007, Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine reappointed her to the Board of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy for a second three-year term. Davis is one of the founders and an Advisory Council member of Virginia Africana: The Network of Museum, History and Preservation Professionals. She has worked in museums and historic sites including; the Smithsonian Institution (Hirshhorn Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Portrait Gallery, and The Experimental Gallery), the University of Virginia’s Bayly Museum, Mount Vernon, and Monticello. In 2007, she was invited to the United Kingdom to lecture at Norwich Cathedral for a forum commemorating the 200th anniversary of Britain’s withdrawal from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Davis is currently featured on the WETA Documentary, Discovering Alexandria, which premiered on December 4, 2014. She is also one of historical consultants for the upcoming PBS drama Mercy Street, which premieres nationally in January 2016.

Josh Radnor is perhaps best known for his role as Ted, the central character on CBS’s Emmy-nominated comedy How I Met Your Mother, which ended its nine-season long run in March 2014, but Radnor’s talents extend beyond acting, and he has quickly established himself as both a gifted writer and director. Radnor can next be seen starring as contract surgeon Jedediah Foster in the new PBS Civil War drama, Mercy Street, premiering in winter of 2016. Radnor was last seen on Broadway starring in Disgraced, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Ayad Akhtar, which received a 2015 Tony nomination for Best Play. The play, which also starred Gretchen Mol, follows the story of a Muslim-American lawyer and his artist wife, who invites a co-worker and her husband over for dinner at their Upper East Side apartment. Radnor has written, directed and starred in two feature films.  His most recent, Liberal Arts, in which he co-starred alongside Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins and Allison Janney, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was released by IFC that fall.  His first feature film, Happthankyoumoreplease, included an ensemble cast with Richard Jenkins, Malin Akerman, Kate Mara, Zoe Kazan and Tony Hale. The film debuted at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for Favorite U.S. Drama.  The film was released in March 2011 by Anchor Bay.

In 2013, he starred in Jill Soloway’s Afternoon Delight co-starring Kathryn Hahn and Juno Temple. The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where Soloway won the U.S. Dramatic Directing Award. In addition to film and television, Radnor first starred on Broadway as the title character in The Graduate opposite Kathleen Turner and Alicia Silverstone.  Off-Broadway and regionally, he has appeared at the Manhattan Theater Club, The Vineyard Theater, and Baltimore Center Stage, among others. He most recently appeared in New York Stage and Film’s world premiere production of Richard Greenberg’s The Babylon Line, directed by Terry Kinney. Radnor also played the role of Georg in a highly successful one-night-only gala reading of She Loves Me in 2011. In Los Angeles, he originated the roles of “Young Sandy” and “Sam” in the Ovation Award-winning world premiere production of Jon Robin Baitz’s The Paris Letter at the Kirk Douglas Theater, roles he subsequently reprised for the L.A. Theater Works radio version broadcast on NPR. His television credits include guest appearances on ER, Six Feet Under, Judging Amy, and Law & Order among others. He was a series regular on ABC’s The Court starring Sally Field.  He made his film debut in the original teen spoof, Not Another Teen Movie. Radnor has had several articles published in the Los Angeles Times Magazine.  He has also written for The Rumpus, Guilt and Pleasure Magazine, Moviemaker Magazine, Indiewire, and The Huffington Post. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Radnor attended Kenyon College where he won the Paul Newman Acting Trophy.  He received his M.F.A. in acting from N.Y.U.’s Tisch School of the Arts. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

McKinley Belcher III, originally from Georgia but now a New Yorker, can currently be seen playing Dwayne Meeks in David Simon’s HBO mini-series SHOW ME A HERO, directed by Paul Haggis and starring Oscar Isaac. He also recurs as Marcus on the STARZ series POWER, now in its second season. McKinley has guest starred on network and cable shows like CHICAGO PD, MADAM SECRETARY, ELEMENTARY, UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, RIZZOLI & ISLES, LOUIE, and LAW & ORDER: LA. He made his feature debut in John Sayles most recent independent film GO FOR SISTERS, playing LisaGay Hamilton’s son Rodney. He made his off-Broadway debut in Classic Stage Company’s 2013 production of ROMEO AND JULIET starring Elizabeth Olsen and recently appeared off-Broadway in the Public Theatre’s Studio production of FIDELIS. McKinley also played Jackson Moore in the 2014 world premiere of Lydia Diamond’s SMART PEOPLE at Huntington Theatre Company. He’s performed in everything from Shakespeare to contemporary classics at regional theatre’s around the country including: Long Wharf Theatre, DC’s Studio Theatre, Hartford Stage, Two River Theatre Company, Shakespeare Center LA, Bay Street Theatre, and Shadowland Theatre. He graduated from USC’s School of Dramatic Arts with an MFA in Acting in 2010, where he won the Ava Greenwald Memorial Award.

British Actress Tara Summers is best known for her role as ‘Katie Lloyd’ on David E. Kelley’s hugely successful series “Boston Legal.” She has done numerous arcs on other critically acclaimed shows such as “Damages,” “Ringer,” and “Sons of Anarchy,” in addition to being a series regular on Fox’s “Rake.” Past film and television credits include “Hitchcock,” “Private Practice,” “Factory Girl,” “Alfie,” ”Dirt” and “What a Girl Wants.” Tara was most recently seen recurring on the CBS drama “Stalker” alongside Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott and will next be seen guest starring on FX’s “You’re The Worst.” Tara wrote, produced and starred in a one-woman autobiographical show, “Gypsy of Chelsea”. She performed the play at the Royal Court Theatre (London) where she was a member of the young writers program, Studio 54 (NY) and the Hudson (Los Angeles). Summers recently performed at the Geffen Playhouse where she received rave reviews for her portrayal of ‘Claire Sutton’ in Jonathan Lynn’s acclaimed stage production, “Yes, Prime Minister”  in Los Angeles during the summer 2013 season. An alumna of Brown University where she received a BA in History, Tara trained at the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill, Connecticut and has MFA in Acting from L.A.M.D.A. She currently resides in Venice, CA.

Moderator Christina Lazaridi is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Lewis Center for the Arts. Learn more about her work …

Presented By

  • Lewis Center for the Arts

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