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Russell Beale, Emond and Barbour Appear in PBS' 'John & Abigail Adams'

Theatre stars Simon Russell Beale, James Barbour and Linda Emond will take on historical guises in "John and Abigail Adams," the January 23rd edition of PBS' acclaimed series "American Experience." The show will air at 9 PM ET.

Filmed in Boston and Philadelphia, the special will feature Russell Beale and Emond as its title characters--the second president of the United States and his smart, devoted First Lady. Barbour will play Thomas Jefferson, who came into conflict with Adams.

"Relying heavily on the extraordinary correspondence between the second president and his wife, this joint biography sheds light not only on the characters of two remarkable people, but also on the tumultuous times through which they lived...John and Abigail Adams played a critical role in many of the pivotal events of their era: he was a vociferous participant at the Continental Congress; she was an important eyewitness reporter during the Siege of Boston; he was an important wartime emissary to France. In the post-war era, first as vice president, then as president, Adams was caught up in the increasing political divisiveness that characterized the 1790s when rifts in the country almost pulled the fledgling nation apart," according to press notes.

Directed by Peter Jones, "John and Abigail Adams" will feature a script by Elizabeth Deane (who also produces). Historians such as David McCullough, Joanne Freeman, Joseph Ellis will also hold forth on the famed political couple.

The British Russell Beale is currently playing King Arthur in Spamalot. The actor
made his Broadway debut in the 2004 revival of Tom Stoppard's Jumpers (and received a Tony nod for his performance), and has won Olivier Awards for his turns in Volpone, Candide and Uncle Vanya. He has appeared on the West End in dozens of plays by Shakespeare, Stoppard, Ibsen, Chekhov and others; they include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida, The Man of Mode, Humble Boy, Love's Labour's Lost, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, Edward II, Some Americans Abroad, The Duchess of Malfi, Ghosts and King Lear.

Emond, who received a Tony Award nomination for her work in Life x 3, appropriately made her Broadway debut as Abigail Adams in the revival of 1776. Her off-Broadway credits include The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ai, Homebody/Kabul, The Dying Gaul, and Baby Anger. She also appeared in Signature Theatre's premiere of Kander and Ebb's Over and Over.

Barbour played Leon Czolgosz, who killed President William McKinley, in the recent Broadway revival of Assassins. His other Broadway credits include Urinetown, Jane Eyre, Beauty and the Beast, Carousel and Cyrano--The Musical. Barbour, who is currently appearing in the new play Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates in LA, will release a CD of Love Songs this fall as well as appear in a concert tour.

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