Beginning tomorrow night, the Sandy Spring Theatre Group will be hosting another weekend of their original one-man show, Honest Abe: The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln at the Rosborough Theatre in the Asbury Methodist Village, in Gaithersburg, MD.
Written by award-winning actor and community theater staple, Bill Spitz, this show takes place in the days of Gettysburg. We sat down with this four-year SSTG President to ask him how he created a full-length one-man show as the most celebrated president in history.
Mara: You’ve said that playing Lincoln bridges your two great loves: theatre and military history.
Bill: Yes, I have always been interested in the study of military history, with the civil war being a big part of my interest. You can’t study the civil war without studying Abe Lincoln, so I’ve been reading about him for about 50 years. I always found him to be such a layered and complex man.
How did you come to play Abraham Lincoln? Did you just start writing it?
No, actually this got started about 8 years ago when I was invited to speak at the Lions Club in Damascus to do a 15-minute presentation using Lincoln’s wit and wisdom as a jumping off point. About two years ago people in SSTG talked about expanding this from a 15-minute presentation to a 90-minute to a 2-hour show. We started researching to find as many of his quotes as we could, and put them together in a chronological fashion to create a biographical sketch using his sayings and witticisms.
Have you found some things about Lincoln that you didn’t know before?
I have found that both Lincoln and I use our senses of humor in everyday life to help us explain things and inform people. Humor is a big part of my life, and Lincoln was known for sitting around and cracking jokes with his buddies. Also, we share a love of reading. At any given time you can find me with a book in my hand, and one of Lincoln’s quotes in the show is, “I always said that my best friend in life would be the man who gave me a book I had not yet read.” Oh, and we are both president (he said with a wink and a smile).
Any other favorite quotes?
I came across a large number of things that he said that are unbelievably profound. One of my favorites is, “In life a person can complain that rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice that thorn bushes have roses.” I use many of these quotes in the show.
When and where did this show premiere?
It was such a pleasure to premiere this show back in May of 2013 at the Sandy Spring Museum and we are honored and happy to be doing it at Asbury Methodist this time around. It’s very timely, actually, because 2013 was the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, and next year is the 150th anniversary of the ending of the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination.
Honest Abe: The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, plays at the Rosborough Theater in the Asbury Methodist Village this weekend: Friday, February 21 and Saturday, February 22 at 7:30 PM; and Sunday, February 23 at 2 PM. Tickets are $15 adults, $10 age 12 and under and free for under age 5
Credit cards accepted. Purchase your tickets at the door at Rosborough Theatre at the Asbury Methodist Village-409 Russell Avenue, in Gaithersburg, MD
Here are directions:
Contact SSTG at info@sandyspringtheatregroup.