Chesterwood To Present Staged Reading Of Harold Holzer's THE LINCOLN FAMILY ALBUM

Chesterwood To Present Staged Reading Of Harold Holzer's THE LINCOLN FAMILY ALBUMChesterwood will present a staged reading of "The Lincoln Family Album", written and moderated by noted Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, on Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 5 p.m. in Daniel Chester French's Studio. The presentation is the third program Holzer has written and narrated for Chesterwood and follows the success of previous sold-out performances of Holzer's "Lincoln Speaks.

"The Lincoln Family Album" will offer a rare glimpse into the tumultuous private life of French's most famous subject, Abraham Lincoln, and his wife Mary, through their personal letters to each other. Two actors who have performed in the Berkshires for years, Eric Hill and Barbara Sims, will portray Lincoln and his wife in the one-hour program, which will be followed by a wine and cheese reception at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 for members; $50 for not-yet-members. Seating is limited. To purchase tickets contact Margaret Cherin at 413-298-2034 or mcherin@savingplaces.org.

"Using only their own authentic words, the script traces the embattled couple from their courtship in Illinois, to their life in Washington during Lincoln's sole term in Congress, to their four painful yet triumphant years in the White House during the Civil War," Holzer said. "Along the way the Lincolns have four sons but lose two; spend almost as much time apart as together; battle Mary's growing emotional problems; and see their last chance at happiness shattered by Lincoln's assassination. Among the little-known nuggets the show reveals is that Lincoln once nearly fought a duel in Mary's defense, later banished her from pre-war Washington, and then obsessed about her ballooning weight."

Harold Holzer is the author of the forthcoming book, "Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French," the first full-length illustrated biography of the sculptor of the "Minute Man," "Alma Mater," and above all the Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial. The author, co-author, editor of 52 previous books, he served under President Bill Clinton as co-chair of the U. S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, has won the Gilder-Lehrman Lincoln Prize and, in 2008, the National Humanities Medal from President George W. Bush.

Eric Hill directed Berkshire Theatre Group's production of "At Home at the Zoo" ("Zoo Story"), "The Homecoming", "Thoreau or, Return to Walden", "Poe", "Benefactors"; "Oklahoma!"; "A Chorus Line" and "The Who's Tommy", as well as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" at the Neil Ellenoff Stage at the Mount. Additional BTG directing credits include "Macbeth", "Endgame", "Faith Healer", "The Einstein Project", "Amadeus", "The Glass Menagerie", "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "The Caretaker". Previous acting credits include "Deathtrap", "A Man for All Seasons", "Dimetos", "The Father", and Scrooge in the annual "A Christmas Carol".

Barbara Sims has performed on Broadway in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Noises Off"; on Off-Broadway in "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" with Alec Baldwin; "Juno and the Paycock"; "Arms and the Man", directed by Roger Rees (Roundabout Theatre); "The Hope Zone" with Olympia Dukakis (Circle in the Square); Horton Foote's "Night Seasons"; Laura Dennis's (Signature Theatre); "Communion"; and 'Trip to Bountiful" with Ellen Burstyn. Her credits include multiple productions at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Geva Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, Stages Repertory Theatre, and Houston Shakespeare Festival. Film and TV credits include "Law & Order: SVU", "Guiding Light", and "End of the Line" and "Cornflower Blue" (PBS Films). Directing credits include "Tartuffe" and "Vinegar Tom" for Bard College at Simon's Rock. She co-wrote and performed in "Through the Looking Glass", an original work presented at the Unicorn Theatre as a benefit for the Berkshires Women Writers Festival.

About Chesterwood

Chesterwood, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is the former summer home, studio and gardens of America's foremost sculptor of public monuments, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). French is best known for his sculptures of the Minute Man (1871-75) and the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln (1911-22) for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Situated on 122 acres in the idyllic hamlet of Glendale near Stockbridge, Mass., the property and its buildings were donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by French's only child Margaret French Cresson (1889-1973). Chesterwood is recognized as both a National Historic Landmark and a Massachusetts Historic Landmark. 4 Williamsville Rd., Stockbridge. For more information, see chesterwood.org. 413-298-3579.

About the Berkshires

Less than three hours from New York City and Boston, the Berkshires offers culture and adventure year-round. The surrounding mountains provide plenty of opportunity for outdoor excursions in all seasons while world class culture and entertainment, along with a deeply rooted food culture and an array of lodging options amidst picturesque towns, set this region apart. For more information, see berkshires.org.

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