Monday, April 6, 2009

Don’t miss Holzer, Waterston Friday night

Do you have plans this Friday night? If not, how about spending it with Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer and actor Sam Waterston?

Okay, not in person, but in front of your TV in a special performance of “Lincoln’s Legacy and Legend” on Bill Moyers Journal. That’s 9 p.m., Friday, April 10, 2009. Be sure to check your local listing for the exact time in your area.

Moyers bills this as a “deeply moving and intimate performance of poetry and prose written by:
  • Walt Whitman,
  • Frederick Douglass,
  • Allen Ginsburg,
  • Langston Hughes,
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe and
  • many other American writers who have struggled to describe perhaps the greatest of American heroes.”

Wait a minute. What’s this “perhaps” stuff?

Why Moyers? Why now?
Moyers invited Holzer, co-chair of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and Waterston, who has played the role of Lincoln, after seeing a private performance of the production in February at New York’s Century Club.

“That was magnificent,” said Moyers. “This should be on television, and I intend to put it on.” When you’re Bill Moyers, it’s not too hard to make dreams like this one come true – and on a Good Friday, yet, which just happens to be when Lincoln became our American martyr.

You won’t want to miss it
Many of you have likely seen Holzer on any one of a number of Lincoln-related programs in recent years or read one of his many books – 33 to date. I’ve had the opportunity to review some of them. They’re good. And, you’ve probably seen Waterston on the stage or screen. If so, I don’t have to tell you you’re in for a real treat.

I’m still waiting for an opportunity to hear Waterston in person, but I did just recently spend a Friday night seeing Holzer live when he presented his program “Lincoln Seen and Heard” at Illinois College with Richard Dreyfuss. Wow!

Keep watching my blog. I hope to find time soon to tell you all about that event and some of the other Illinois History Symposium activities.

An incarnation
I will say this much. You can’t go wrong spending a Friday night with Holzer and his friends like Waterston. It’s almost as if Lincoln is there, too. Just ask Moyers, who shared this memory about one of Waterston’s earlier performances:

Moyers: I saw you some years ago when you were portraying Lincoln at Lincoln Center, as Harold said earlier. And when we left, I was struggling with where when you ceased to exist and Lincoln appeared because--

"Waterston: Bless you.

"Moyers: --he did. He did appear. As I said, it was like an incarnation. How does that happen?”
To hear the answer, watch the show. Friday night, now. Don’t forget.

© Copyright 2009 Ann Tracy Mueller. All rights reserved.

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