Tom Byrn as Will Rogers in East Lynne Theater Company’s “Will Rogers’ U.S.A.” Photo credit: Gayle Stahlhuth
Tom Byrn, who received excellent reviews for his portrayal of the 16th president in the award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company’s “Mr. Lincoln,” is now taking on the title role in “Will Rogers’ U.S.A.” Rogers (1879-1935) was a stage and screen star, radio personality, syndicated columnist and humanitarian.
Like Mark Twain, to whom Rogers is often compared, he performed his humorous banter to audiences throughout the country. Created for and starring James Whitmore in 1970, “Will Rogers’ U.S.A” follows a similar format to Hal Holbrook’s “Mark Twain Tonight.” The script for “Will” is not published and was not easily obtained.
“‘Will Rogers’ U.S.A.’ is a treat. Tom Byrn captures Rogers beautifully… As the evening progresses, you become more and more aware of just how magnetic Roger’s personality was and why the people he joked about didn’t take offense, and why the whole country loved him… This play is so timely, you will continually have to remind yourself this is 1935, not today. It is a play for all ages and I promise you an outstanding evening of entertainment,” wrote Dottie Knapp in her review for “Exit Zero.”
The show, directed by ELTC’s artistic director, Gayle Stahlhuth, runs four nights a week, Wednesdays through Saturdays, at 8:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, 500 Hughes St., through July 22. Tickets: $32; $27; $17. Reservations: (609) 884-5898 or www.eastlynnetheater.org.
Next up, “Tales of the Victorians” is on Thursday, July 6 at 4 p.m. at the Twin Gables Inn, 731 Columbia Ave.