Celebrating 50 Years: Playing with History
Fifty years ago this February Ford’s Theatre began presenting plays to honor Lincoln’s love of the performing arts. Our mission is to showcase work that focuses on the American experience. Here are a few shows that help us remember our past.
John Brown’s Body
Ford’s contracted with the National Repertory Theatre to present the first season of shows since Lincoln’s assassination. The season opened with John Brown’s Body, an epic poem following one Union and one Confederate soldier from John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry to the end of the Civil War. The first season at Ford’s Theatre continued with shows performed at Ford’s during Lincoln’s presidency—She Stoops to Conquer and Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors.
Zora Neale Hurston: A Theatrical Biography
January 22-February 23, 1992
Actress Elizabeth Van Dyke brought novelist, playwright and journalist Zora Neale Hurston to life on the Ford’s Theatre stage. Joseph Lewis Edward portrayed four different figures who influenced Hurston, including poet Langston Hughes. Van Dyke went on to share the production around the world in the 1990s and reprised the role in New York City in 2016 to mark Hurston’s 125th birthday.
March 12-June 8, 2003
and March 9-May 19, 2012
This quick-witted and playful musical about the Founding Fathers has proved a Ford’s fan favorite in the past two decades. 1776 reveals the oppositions and personal conflicts between the delegates from the 13 colonies who came together to sign the Declaration of Independence.
September 21-October 21, 2012
Fly shared the stories of four young men who trained in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1941 to fly combat aircraft in World War II. The production used a tap griot, performed by Omar Edwards, to accompany this play about the Tuskegee Airmen, whose excellence led to the desegregation of the American military.
Sara Cohen is Marketing and Social Media Manager at Ford’s Theatre, where she is proud to share Lincoln’s legacy with the world. Follow her on Twitter at @SaraECohen.