By B. Altschuler
This e-book seeks to fill a big hole within the literature approximately fictional representations of presidents by means of learning greater than forty performs, written when you consider that 1900, that have had popular productions on or off-Broadway or in one other significant city.
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Extra resources for Acting Presidents: 100 Years of Plays about the Presidency
Columnist Max Lerner’s critique was particularly incisive. He wished Corwin had included Lincoln’s opposition to blacks and whites living 28 Acting Presidents together under conditions of social and political equality, or his belief in white superiority, cited by supporters of segregation at the time of the play’s run, “because it is better to have the whole Lincoln than only part of him. ”97 It is not difficult to find examples in the debates of Lincoln reflecting the racism of his time. In the first debate he stated, “I have no disposition to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races.
Covering Lincoln’s life from the start of his legal career through his presidency, the play sought to enliven the one-person format with such techniques as screen projections and having Lincoln comment on his Gettysburg Address as the speech played on tape. Critics thought the play covered too much ground with too-brief snippets. ”111 Although its Broadway run was little longer, Herbert Mitgang’s Mister Lincoln has proven more lasting than Levitt’s work. ”113 In the play, he walks around, uses props, and engages in conversation with unseen others.
To understand how public perception of the presidency, as reflected in the theater, is changing, we need to turn to plays about other presidents. 1 In this chapter, we will examine presidents portrayed on stage as praiseworthy. Although or perhaps because judging the quality of presidents is not something that can be done objectively, Americans have long debated which presidents to rank highly. More formal surveys of historians began with one conducted for Life magazine by Arthur Schlesinger Sr.