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Visit With President Abraham Lincoln And First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln posed for this 1863 portrait by Alexander Gardner. David Tavel will portray Lincoln on February 14.

Abraham Lincoln posed for this 1863 portrait by Alexander Gardner. David Tavel will portray Lincoln on February 14.

February 14 and March 28 at the Park Village Playhouse

In honor of the 200th anniversary of his birth, all are invited to join Abraham Lincoln in his White House office as he reflects upon his accomplished life. Lincoln, portrayed by David Tavel, will be joined by his private secretary John G. Nicolay, portrayed by Kurtis Kelly. The program takes place at 1:00 p.m. on February 14 at the Park Village Playhouse, 900 Moraine Avenue in Estes Park. Also at the Park Village Playhouse, at 1:00 p.m. on March 28, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln will make an appearance of her own in honor of Women’s History Month. Portrayed by Caroline Krandell, Mrs. Lincoln will reflect upon her life. Both programs are sponsored by the Estes Park Woman’s Club, the Estes Park Public Library Foundation and the Estes Park Museum.

“Each of these actors brings a wealth of knowledge and a lively, exciting story to the stage at the Park Village Playhouse. We are delighted to bring such dynamic individuals with great enthusiasm and learned backgrounds to our Estes Park audience,” commented Dale Bonza, Speakers Program Chair for the Estes Park Woman’s Club. Katie Speer, President of the Estes Park Public Library Foundation added, “The entire community benefits from these historic portrayals, and from the scholarships that ticket proceeds will provide to 2009 graduates of Estes Park High School.” The programs are supported by a grant to the Library Foundation.
Luncheons, tickets and schedule

Each program will be preceded by a playhouse luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m. The February 14 luncheon, prior to the Abraham Lincoln program, will include chicken salad croissants with fresh fruits and a cup of soup, beverages and dessert. The luncheon on March 28, prior to the Mary Todd Lincoln program, will include Mary Todd’s own recipe for fricassee of chicken, her famous white cake and beverages.

Tickets to the luncheon with program are $20. They are available for purchase at the Estes Park Public Library, located at 335 East Elkhorn in Estes Park, at MacDonald Book Shop, located at 152 East Elkhorn in Estes Park, or by calling Patti at 970-577-0587 or Loretta at 970-586-3208.
For those who do not wish to attend the luncheons, program-only tickets are also available for $5 and may be purchased in advance or at the door beginning at 12:30 p.m. the day of the performances. Students can purchase tickets for just $2. For program-only attendees, doors open at 12:30 p.m. for the 1:00 p.m. program.

Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Estes Park Woman’s Club scholarship fund for Estes Park High School students. “These presentations have helped the Estes Park Woman’s Club give scholarships for the last three years to a graduating senior young lady. “I believe in the importance of women’s education, and what better way to show it, and learn ourselves, than through the storytelling of a living history,” commented Patty Erbe, Woman’s Club Treasurer.

“The Estes Park Museum is pleased to take part in the national celebration of the Abraham Lincoln bicentennial,” noted Kate Rusch, Curator of Education at the Estes Park Museum, a co-sponsor of the events. “Lincoln’s values of freedom and equality are as relevant today as ever.”

A Visit to Lincoln’s White House on February 14

Step into sixteenth U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s White House for a first-person perspective of the accomplished life of the man many consider to be the greatest leader in United States history. Lincoln successfully led the country through the Civil War, ending slavery and saving the Union. Joined by his private secretary John G. Nicolay, Lincoln recalls the events of his life.

David Tavel has performed as Abraham Lincoln for more than 30 years. His audiences have been groups as small as household gatherings and as large as the Ohio state legislature. As a faculty member of the University of Toledo, many of his presentations were in schools in Ohio and Michigan. Since retiring as a professor and moving to Colorado, Tavel has also visited schools in the Loveland-Fort Collins area as well as the Estes Park fourth grade classes. He is a member of the Association of Lincoln Presentations.

Kurtis Kelly, who portrays John G. Nicolay, is the Adult Services Librarian at the Estes Park Public Library. He has performed locally in numerous stage productions, including appearances as Albert Einstein in Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Max in Lend Me a Tenor, Ali Hakim in Oklahoma!, and most recently as Hugo in Bye, Bye Birdie. Kelly has worked for many years with the Stanley Museum, giving tours and talks about the ghost stories of the Stanley Hotel. He appears in character in living history presentations of Abner Sprague, Lord Dunraven and F.O. Stanley. Of the upcoming program, Kelly remarked, “I am honored to be working with David Tavel to celebrate the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln.”

Tavel, who is now two decades older than Abraham Lincoln ever lived to be, believes 2009 may be his last year to appear as the legendary president. The bicentennial of Lincoln’s birthday seems a most appropriate time to pay his final homage.

Reflections of Mary Todd Lincoln on March 28

The fourth of sixteen children, Mary Ann Todd was daughter to a businessman and politician who provided his children with the social standing and material advantages Abraham Lincoln lacked in his own youth. Join Mrs. Lincoln as she recounts the details of her life, her marriage to Abraham Lincoln and their journey to Washington, D.C. The vivacious and temperamental Mary Todd was often misunderstood and chastised by the public. Portrayed by Estes Park resident Caroline Krandell, the controversial figure will share her side of the Lincoln story.

Caroline Krandell was a tour guide for seven years at the Mary Todd Lincoln House in Lexington, Kentucky. The girlhood home of Mary Ann Todd, it was the first site restored to honor a first lady and opened as a museum in 1977. As a guide, Krandell often found herself dispelling visitor beliefs that Mary Todd was crazy and imparted a new understanding for the difficulties she endured. Krandell also notes, “I do believe that Mary Todd should be recognized for the positive role she played in Lincoln’s life.”

For information on programs or tickets, please call 970-577-0587 or 970-586-3208. For information on the Abraham Lincoln bicentennial including nationwide programs, events and exhibits, please visit the Library of Congress website at

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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