The world premiere of the fully-staged opera took place on June 20, 2008 at the Academy of Music Theater in Northampton, Massachusetts, the city’s 800-seat 1892 opera house, not unlike Ford’s Theatre.
The performance featured the Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose. Stage direction was by Carole Charnow, general director of Opera Boston. Principal performers included Janna Baty as Laura Keene, Drew Poling as Ned Emerson, Alan Schneider as Harry Hawk, Aaron Engebreth as Jack Matthews, and Tom O’Toole as John Wilkes Booth.
The opera had been previously performed in a concert version on March 31, 2007 at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the same principals as above along with the Amherst College Concert Choir.
The Opera was performed during the year of the Lincoln Bicentennial, the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. As a part of the celebration, PBS interviewed the composer and cast of the opera in Looking for Lincoln, a TV documentary, Our American Cousin received endorsement from The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. The Commission was created by Congress to inform the public about the impact Abraham Lincoln had on the development of our nation, and to find the best possible ways to honor his accomplishments.