June 18, 2004
MEET THE HISTORICAL CHARACTERS!
Washington, DC. . .The National Archives "Democracy Starts Here"
Fourth of July celebration features the return of special historical guests –
the American Historical Theatre of Philadelphia’s Time Travelers:
George Washington - our country's first President and Commander in Chief. Washington is played by Dean Malissa, who has appeared in Philadelphia theatre, films, commercials and TV shows. Malissa has performed as General Washington at a wide variety of venues including Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Constitution Center.
Thomas Jefferson – writer of the Declaration of Independence and our nation’s third president. Although "Renaissance man" Jefferson was a lawyer, architect, inventor, and musician, he listed his primary occupation as "farmer." Jefferson is played by Steven Edenbo. With his uncanny resemblance to the red-headed Virginian, Edenbo is fast becoming recognized as a premier interpreter of Jefferson.
John Adams - A signer of the Declaration of Independence and our nation’s second president. Adams is played by Joe Doyle, who runs the Actors' Net of Bucks County at the Heritage Center in Morrisville, PA.
Benjamin Franklin – Franklin was a writer, printer, newsman, publisher, editor, civic leader, inventor, scientist, philosopher, musician, patriot, statesman, and diplomat. He helped draft both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. Franklin is played by Dean Bennett. Bennett has become famous for his portrayals of Franklin at Philadelphia's Independence Hall.
Soldier Ned Hector – Revolutionary War hero Edward "Ned" Hector was born a free black about 1744. Hector is famous for his role in the Battle of Brandywine, September 11, 1777, in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. He showed great courage during the retreat from the battle when he refused to let his team and wagon fall into enemy hands: "The enemy shall not have my team! I will save the horses or perish myself!" he said. He fought to receive a pension for his wartime service and was granted a one-time "gratuity" of $40. Hector is played by Noah Lewis. Lewis has been presenting programs on the life of Ned Hector to schools and historical societies for nearly ten years. Lewis "discovered" the story of Hector while tracing his own genealogy and learning about the important roles played by blacks in the Revolutionary War.
Thurgood Marshall - the first African-American justice of the US Supreme Court. Marshall was on the team of lawyers in the historic Supreme Court trial concerning school desegregation, Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that overthrew the "separate but equal" doctrine in public education. After a successful career as a lawyer and judge fighting for civil rights and women's rights, Marshall was appointed to the high court in 1967 (by President Johnson), where he continued his fight for human rights until his retirement in 1991. Marshall is played by Mel Donaldson, who has served as an actor and producer at the Philadelphia Black Theater Festival.
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