Theatre as Autobiography: Director Mark Ramont Connects Tennessee Williams’s Life to “The Glass Menagerie”

Great American playwright Tennessee Williams was an unknown when The Glass Menagerie debuted on Broadway on March 31, 1945. Shortly after the production began, his world was transformed. Biographer John Lahr writes, “The hubbub of Williams’s new life began almost immediately.” Williams was photographed for Vogue and interviewed for the New Yorker. The play was…

The Heart of an American Classic: The Glass Menagerie

Editor’s Note: This essay also appears in the playbill for The Glass Menagerie at Ford’s Theatre. The Glass Menagerie is undeniably a classic in the American theatre canon. Since its Chicago premiere in 1944, this play by Tennessee Williams has been a staple in our theatrical landscape. But why is this the case? What keeps…

Remembering Lincoln as a Local and a Friend

Editor’s Note: The Museum of the Grand Prairie has participated in the Remembering Lincoln Digital Collection by contributing pieces from its own collections, and those of local Lincolniana collector Kent Tucker.  Located in Champaign County, Illinois, the museum is in one of the counties of the 8th Judicial Circuit, where Lincoln practiced law for 20…

Then vs. Now: Exploring the Presidential Box

4 min. Read

In our previous Then vs. Now blog posts, we have discussed why the Ford’s stage is slanted and where the cheapest seats were during 1860s performances. Today we take look at the most expensive seats in the house—the ones that the Lincoln family knew best. Overlooking the Stage During Lincoln’s presidency, Ford’s Theatre contained eight…

Using Video to Chart Students’ Oratory Progress

Editor’s Note: In this post, eighth-grade teacher and Ford’s Oratory Fellow Giani Clarkson shares his experiences teaching the art of oratory to his students in Washington, D.C. As we begin a new year, and resolutions abound, taking a look back with students can be insightful. Honoring one’s past is a good thing—not only does it…

From Flotsam to Cherished Artifact: 1864 Playbill Provides Glimpse into Daily Life of Ford’s Theatre

The recent production of The Guard at Ford’s Theatre isn’t the first time guards have been featured on the stage at Tenth Street NW. In July 1864—nine months before Lincoln’s assassination halted productions at Ford’s for 100 years—John T. Ford brought a production called Three Guardsmen to his Washington theatre. The historic playbill joined the…

The Glass Menagerie: Meet the Characters

Tennessee Williams’s memory play, The Glass Menagerie, focuses solely on the insular world of the Wingfield family. The Wingfield apartment is a confining space in both structure and feeling, and is filled with unrealized hopes and dreams. The portrait of their absentee father hangs on the wall, reminding them daily of their insignificance to the…