Acting Presidents: 100 Years of Plays about the Presidency by B. Altschuler

By B. Altschuler

This publication seeks to fill a tremendous hole within the literature approximately fictional representations of presidents through learning greater than forty performs, written because 1900, that have had well known productions on or off-Broadway or in one other significant city.

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Extra info for Acting Presidents: 100 Years of Plays about the Presidency

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Surprised, Ann seems receptive, but asks for time to consider the changed circumstances. Sherwood concedes in his essay that there is no evidence that Lincoln’s love for Ann influenced his decision to seek office. ”72 In the play, her death is kept offstage; we only see a despairing Abe returning home to tell his friends. Five years later, a still-dispirited Lincoln is practicing law in Springfield. He declines an invitation to speak at an abolitionist rally 20 Acting Presidents because his fear of war is even greater than his opposition to slavery.

The Rivalry had a successful limitedrun revival off Broadway. A newly renovated Ford’s Theatre reopened with a world premiere of The Heavens Are Hung in Black, a play by David Selby focusing on the five months between the death of Lincoln’s son Willie and the Emancipation Proclamation. ”119 After premiering in San Francisco in 2008, Abe Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party, a satire depicting a fictional trial of a teacher charged with discussing in class the possibility that Lincoln was gay, ran in the New York International Fringe Festival during the summer of 2009.

Although Douglas won the seat, the debates gave Lincoln a national reputation. However, the length and format presented significant problems for any would-be theatrical adapter. Seven three-hour debates had to be condensed into a theatrically manageable amount of time. Rather than the statements and rebuttals of a minute or two of modern political debates, the 1858 events began with an hour’s opening statement, followed by a 90-minute rebuttal and a half-hour reply by the first speaker. Despite the ability of each to ask questions of the other, the debates more resembled 21 speeches than the give-andtake expected today or even in the 1950s.

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