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“Underground” Series Uses Music to Make Old Story Modern

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LOS ANGELES, California –The second season of the historical thriller “Underground” starts on WGN America. The series takes us to 1858 when the country is on the brink of civil war. It's an old story that feels contemporary, thanks in part to the music.

Actress Amirah Vann said, "It's going to keep that same quality of contemporary sounds, making it accessible to a much younger audience than a straight period drama would be."

Writer and Creator Joe Pokaski said, "I think at the very least, it reminds everyone how urgent and how heroic everyone was. Sometimes in this period, you see things that are a little more waxed and boring and these are people running for the lives. These are people shooting guns, hiding people, trying to save the world."

Grammy Award winning singer song writer and “Underground” Executive Producer John Legend lends his talents again. He wrote an original song for the series called "In America." "In America is a song I was writing and thinking about, kind of duality of America. Where it's known to be this place of freedom, a place where anyone can make it. It's known to be a place where everyone is equal, but we haven't always lived up to what we've said we're about."

Cast members said there is a big interest in this time period because of the state of race relations in the country. Jessica de Gouw, who stars as Elizabeth Hawkes, said, “Because the parallels are so completely obvious still."

New comer Jasika Nicole, who plays Georgia and has appeared “Fringe” and “Scandal,” said, "I love that they're able to go back to this period of time that's so long ago, but it's not so long ago, it's so cliche to say, but we're still experiencing those same things. It really runs parallel to what was happening then and what is happening now."

Aisha Hinds joins the cast this year in the pioneering role of the Underground Railroad’s most famous conductor Harriet Tubman. She said, “They did such a beautiful job of marrying where we are now, and using music to sort of punctuate the story and humanize these people and showing us them families and the children and the fallout of it all, and engaging us into these characters.”

Underground” premieres Wednesday, March 8th at 10/9 Central on Channel 13’s sister station WGN America.