"The Carpetbagger's Children" by the late playwright Horton Foote depicts the compelling aftermath of the Civil War through the eyes of three sisters in post-Reconstruction Texas. The Ford's Theatre production is part of Civil War to Civil Rights, a commemoration throughout Washington marking the war's 150th anniversary. Few results of the war contributed more to the destabilization of the South and reverberated among later generations than the arrival of the carpetbaggers from the North. Foote's play recounts how the legacy of one carpetbagger affected his daughters. The daughters are portrayed by three of the area's finest actresses -- Nancy Robinette, Kimberly Schraf and Holly Twyford -- performing together for the first time.

If you go
'The Carpetbaggers's Children'
Featuring: Nancy Robinette, Kimberly Schraf and Holly Twyford
Where: Ford's Theatre
When: Friday through Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m.,Tues. through Sun.; 2:30 p.m. Sat. and Sun.
Info: $15 to $55, discounts for groups, seniors, military; at 202-397-SEAT or 800-637-7000

"This play is about the sisters' relationships and how they handled them," Robinette said. "My character, Grace Anne, followed her heart to get married and paid a terrible price. Foote is easy on the ears and a good story teller. This play will resonate with people in the audience who have been through similar situations."

Robinette has been active in Washington's theater world since childhood. Inspired initially by her sister, she appeared in shows at Arlington Children's Theater during junior high and many others at Yorktown High School. Before graduating and heading to the University of Kansas as a drama major, she spent a summer as an apprentice at Catholic University's Summer Theatre in Vermont.

After marrying and returning to D.C., she began taking classes at Studio Theatre's acting conservatory. It was not long before she added Source Theatre, Wooly Mammoth, Arena Stage, the Shakespeare Theatre, Round House and the Kennedy Center to her regular venues. Wherever she appears, audiences know that she will add sparkle to every role she undertakes. It's little wonder that she has been nominated 16 times for the Helen Hayes awards and captured the coveted outstanding actress award five times.

Although she adores comedy and relished her lead role in "The Solid Gold Cadillac," Robinette is equally adept at tragedy, as her resume reflects. Occasionally she leaves town to appear at such renowned theaters as Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., McCarter Theatre of Princeton and Williamstown Playhouse. She was also in "The Day Lincoln Was Shot, "Soldier Jack" and other films, but her heart and her fans are in Washington.

She is in such great demand that she often finds herself performing in one play at night while rehearsing for the next during the day. That will be the case next month when she begins rehearsal for the Shakespeare Theatre production of "An Ideal Husband" in March. She will follow that will "The New Electric Ballroom," coming to the Studio Theatre in mid-April.

"Plays are important in our lives for the interesting love stories they present in a larger scale, stories about loving life, not just another person," she said. "Plays remind us of who we are and our deepest longings or needs. It's helpful to hear the words a writer put on paper about his own thoughts."