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“A Walk to Respect” – The Show Will Go On!

By Wendy Swanson

Washington, D.C.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Sadly, Michael Krebs who was scheduled to portray Abraham Lincoln in this program passed away unexpectedly last month. However, in the best tradition of the theater, the show will go on! Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass will still “Walk to Respect” at the Kennedy Center on February 22, as originally scheduled. Both performances of the play are sold out.

Playwright Beth Duda of The Patterson Foundation had met Michael Krebs, in the persona of Lincoln, at the national dedication of Patriot’s Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery. When she started to plan “Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: A Walk to Respect,” she knew she wanted Michael to be the play’s Lincoln.

Krebs was an integral part of this play from the beginning, His Lincoln expertise provided a solid foundation for the portrayal of the presidential character. His knowledge of the interactions of these two iconic figures enhanced the richness of the script, one which uses the actual words of Lincoln and Douglass to tell of their journey to respect.

Knowing Michael’s dedication to the play, Beth declared that he would want the play to go on. As a result, this portion of the Lincoln story will be shown in Washington, D.C., the city where "the walk" actually happened - and Michael Krebs' dream of a Kennedy Center showing of this production will be realized.

The Patterson Foundation has filmed a brief tribute to Michael, one which will be presented at the beginning of each performance of the play. A new actor will be portraying Lincoln, filling the shoes of both Michael and Lincoln. The performance itself not only will serve as a lesson from Lincoln (and Douglass!) but also as a tribute to Michael Krebs, the man who many Lincoln Group members remember as our Lincoln.

Sarasota's The Patterson Foundation has been using this work as a means of fostering communication and respect in these divided times. The Foundation’s mission is to strengthen the efforts of people, organizations, and communities by focusing on issues that address mutual aspirations, foster wide participation, and encourage learning and sharing. While in town, the organizaiton also will be using the play as a basis for workshops on communication at two local high schools, one in DC and the other in Virginia.

See an earlier blog on this program here.

(Photo credit: The Patterson Foundation)


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