In just a few weeks the curtain rises on Lincoln’s in Town!, written by Professor Robert C. Bray and aluma Nancy Steele Brokaw (’71). The play is an original dramatization of Abraham Lincoln’s life as it relates to Bloomington, Illinois, from the time he was a new lawyer riding the circuit through his most significant appearances in town—including the famous “Lost Speech” of 1856. As a grandfather waits with his grandson at the Bloomington train depot for Lincoln to arrive again, their stories bring Lincoln to life: the way he could entertain a courtroom, fiercely debate opponents, plot with friends, or relish 19th century life. The project, which was commissioned by the McLean County Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, is produced by Holiday Spectacular, Inc. and sponsored by The Pantagraph. Lori Adams is the director.
Opening night features a 6 p.m. Champagne Gala Reception at the Bloomington Performing Arts Center, where the play begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to both the reception and show are $50; tickets to the show only are $19 for adults and $10 for children 14 and under. Additional performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on February 14 and 2 p.m. on February 15. Tickets are available at the box office (10 a.m.-6 p.m.), by phone (309-434-2777), or online.
Bob, who has long been interested in Lincoln, wrote in detail about the relationship between Lincoln and fire-and-brimstone Methodist preacher Peter Cartwright in his 2005 book, Peter Cartwright, Legendary Frontier Pioneer (University of Illinois Press). Cartwright helped found Illinois Wesleyan University, and a lot of familiar local names pop up in the play—including David Davis, Jesse Fell, and Asahel Gridley. The show includes an annotated booklet, which was designed for Lincoln buffs, school children, and “everyone in between.”