By B. Altschuler
This booklet seeks to fill an important hole within the literature approximately fictional representations of presidents via learning greater than forty performs, written seeing that 1900, that have had well-known productions on or off-Broadway or in one other significant city.
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Extra resources for Acting Presidents: 100 Years of Plays about the Presidency
Charles Nirdlinger’s 1911 comedy The First Lady of the Land recounts his courtship of the young Quaker widow, Dolly Payne Todd4 who runs a boarding house in Philadelphia, then the nation’s capital. Because she prefers to maintain her independence rather than to depend upon the support of relatives after having been left with debts from her marriage, Dolly risks the disapproval of polite society, including that of Martha Washington, for the way she earns her living, running a boarding house. As the play begins, the House of Representatives has taken 36 ballots to decide the 1800 presidential election after an Electoral College tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.
Benét himself came to believe that this play taught him to include less local color and confusing historical detail in his later work. 21 Despite Benét’s later literary fame, the play has remained no more than a footnote in his career. Like The First Lady of the Land, Benét and Farrar’s work depicts the conflict between the privileged establishment and those with more egalitarian views, although this time both groups are predominantly 40 Acting Presidents American. Andrew Jackson is shown as retaining his common touch, much as Lincoln does in plays depicted in the previous chapter, despite holding the nation’s highest office.
Because the play seems designed more to be read than performed, there has not been a major revival since. 108 In 1972, V. J. Longhi’s The Lincoln Mask had a run of nineteen previews followed by eight performances on Broadway. It begins with Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre the night of his assassination, even including excerpts from Our American Cousin, then flashes back to tell the story of Abe and Mary Lincoln. ”109 Reviews, however, were brutal, finding the play overly preachy, historically inaccurate, and so poorly written that the dialogue was unintentionally funny.
Acting Presidents: 100 Years of Plays about the Presidency by B. Altschuler