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Lincoln Live at Ford's Theater

By Edward Epstein

Washington, D.C.

Sunday, June 23, 2024


Abraham Lincoln will return to Ford's Theater, where he was mortally wounded in 1865, in Mister Lincoln, a one-man, two-act play featuring TV star Scott Bakula.


The play, which was first performed in the early 1980s, was written by journalist Herbert Mitgang, who also wrote a few books about Lincoln. It will run at Ford's from September 20 to October 13, kicking off Ford's 2024-25 performance schedule.


Bakula is well-known as a star of such long-running TV series as Quantum Leap, Star Trek: Enterprise. and most recently, NCIS: New Orleans. At 69-- he'll celebrate his 70th birthday on October 9 during Mister Lincoln's run in Washington--Bakula has also appeared on Broadway and in movies.


The first act of the play is set in Illinois and features Lincoln the lawyer and anti-slavery advocate, while the second is set in Washington, with Lincoln as emancipator and wartime leader. Mitgang tried to use Lincoln's own words as much as possible to create a portrait of him.


The show played at Ford's in the early 1980s, starring English actor Roy Dotrice, and then went on to Broadway with Dotrice again in the role and was also done on PBS.


In the Playbill program for the Broadway show, Mitgang wrote: "This is a dramatization of Lincoln's life and mind...It is based on informed interpretation of Lincoln's character and of the times in which he lived."


During his long career, the prolific Mitgang spent 47years on the staff of The New York Times. He was a longtime student of Lincoln. His books on the sixteenth president include Lincoln as They Saw Him, Washington D.C. in Lincoln's Time and The Fiery Trial -- A Life of Lincoln. Mitgang died in 2013 at age 93.


Photo courtesy of the National Park Service



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