I'd like to use my space this week to talk about
This one is titled "Lincoln, the One-Man Show" and it stars Gary Saderup, which may ring a bell with people who've been around the theater as long as I have. You see, about 40 years ago, Gary made quite a few waves in local theatrical circles, and I was involved in some of them.
Over a period of years in the early 1970s, Gary and I did four shows together. We acted in
Then Gary moved on to pursue an equally immense talent as a portrait artist and we lost touch for four decades — until he contacted me about his latest project, "Lincoln." I expressed interest and he sent me a videocassette of the show. It is, in a word, awesome.
Lincoln's story opens shortly after the assassination, with Abe awakening in a sort of celestial ante room awaiting his entrance to heaven. While in that period of limbo, the inveterate storyteller chats with the audience and spins the tale of his historic life and times.
Most intriguing is his fervent opposition to slavery, instilled during his trip down the Mississippi river as a boy and witnessing a slave auction. The sight of a tearful mother being separated from her daughter stayed with Lincoln throughout his life.
In a performance inviting positive comparison to the one-man shows of
The show covers Lincoln's political career, including his debates over the morality of slavery with Stephen Douglas as both men vied for a Senate seat from Illinois, which
Two highlights of "Lincoln" come when Saderup recites the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address, with all the fervor driving him during the traumatic days of the Civil War. He makes it seem as emotionally involving as reading today's headlines.
The young man that I caught in a powerful performance as Rev. Davidson in "Rain" at Golden West College more than 40 years ago, and cast opposite my then-wife Beth in
Gary has played the title roles in productions of the Shakespearean tragedies "Macbeth" and "Othello," as well as appearing as Charles Darwin.
Now he's Abraham Lincoln in a season replete with Lincolns. One reviewer put it this way: "A sweeping epic made human, specific and immediately powerful by Saderup's mastery of characterization, pacing and presentation."
Amen. I couldn't have said it better myself.