Newsletter of the American Historical Theatre.............Winter 2006
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AHT's George Washington recently completed a four-year national tour accompanying the Gilbert Stuart Lansdowne Portrait of President Washington thru some of the top museums in the nation. The grand finale commenced with a gala series of performances in November at New York's legendary Metropolitan Museum of Art. Performances were held in the 18th Century galleries within the museum and audiences for both children's and gallery performances were ecstatic.
The George Washington Lansdowne Portrait Tour wended its way through five western states making stops at the Houston Museum of Art, Las Vegas Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Library Children’s Theater, Oklahoma Museum of Art in Oklahoma City, Seattle Museum of Art and the Arkansas Museum of Art in Little Rock.
The Seattle leg proved the most challenging as the tour covered five different venues within Washington State requiring the caravan to twice cross the mountains to appear in small community museums, libraries and art centers. Children were transported to see performances at the various venues and the evening adult performances were always sold out. The Washington State tour ended with a splendid luncheon performance for Governor Gary Locke.
Thousands of people, adults and children, were treated to performances and appearances of George Washington both in museum galleries and in various museum theaters. The original performance pieces "Growing up Along the Potomac" and "The Glorious Burden", written and performed by AHT Artistic Director William Sommerfield, were presented to appreciative audiences and received positive reviews from local critics and audiences alike.
Mr. Sommerfield, "America's George Washington" said, "The journey across our nation in the role of George Washington was enlightening. Playing the first president was most satisfying. Washington still generates a great deal of patriotism and seems universally loved. " Mr. Sommerfield feels that this presentation of Washington on a national tour was a highlight of his career and wishes to thank all those folks in art centers and museums across the country for their help and support.
The George Washington Lansdowne Portrait Tour was jointly sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery and the Reynolds Foundation. The Reynolds Foundation purchased the priceless portrait from the English Lansdowne family, who originally received the painting as a gift from the citizens of Philadelphia in recognition of Lord Lansdowne’s aid in the American Revolution.
BERTHE MORISOT at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC.
What is an Impressionist? Not an easy question to answer in a 20 minute presentation. But focusing on the life of Berthe Morisot, a French woman who was the first female to be included in a group of artists that included Monet, Degas, Renoir and Pissarro, Jill Lawrence of the American Historical Theatre did justice to Producing Director Pamela Sommerfield's script and presented an engaging, educational and entertaining program for family audiences.
A visitor from the National Portrait Gallery staff was so taken with the performance that she approached AHT with the idea of scripting a program about Frida Kahlo for possible presentation in the fall .
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In conjunction with the exhibition of a model of his home - Mount Vernon VA - Dean Malissa, AHT's revolutionary George Washington, appeared on Friday evening, March 18 for museum members and on Saturday, March 19 to present public programming.
On July 1, 06, augment your visit to Philadelphia with attendance at the Independence Visitors Center Theatre at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. to attend "The Women of the Presidential Mansion". Martha Washington, her granddaughter Eleanor Custis and Oney Judge, personal maid to Mrs. Washington, will tell you some of the secrets of the Washingtons' stay in Philadelphia.
As summer winds down and we head into the Fall, don't forget to attend one of the reenactments (12 noon and 1 p.m.) of the Battle of Germantown on Saturday, October 7. George Washington (Dean Malissa) will be there in his full regalia to lead the troops against the British and Hessians who eventually won the day. Head for Cliveden, the Chew mansion (Germantown Avenue & Johnson) that still bears the marks of the cannon balls that hit on that unhappy day.