Ben Franklin has Theatreworks tea party

October 5, 2010
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Ben Franklin has Theatreworks tea party

What happens when our best-loved founding father is miraculously teleported into a 21st century television studio to face questions from an aggressive group of lively panelists?

There are questions to be asked. Was Franklin a traitor to his country? Which country? What exactly was his role in the infamous tea party episode? How come gentle Ben owned slaves? What role did he think religion should play in civic life? What about taxes? And, getting more personal, what about his reputation as a ladies’ man? What about that illegitimate son of his? There’s more to Ben Franklin than a kite in a storm, as audiences will discover when they attend Ben Franklin’s Tea Party at Theatreworks Oct. 14-17 in the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater.

The production features Christopher Lowell as Benjamin Franklin. Lowell has portrayed America’s first citizen for the better part of the last decade with acclaimed appearances all over the country. Lowell, a fluent French speaker, was invited to the celebration of the Marquis de La Fayette’s 250th birthday in Paris. By all accounts he is the best Ben Franklin anyone has seen since the original’s departure in 1790.

At Theatreworks, Ben Franklin will face a formidable quartet of panelists. Richard Randall, host of a KVOR conservative talk show, will be on hand, along with Mary Sprunger-Froese of the Pikes Peak Peace and Justice Commission, Lynda Dickson, associate professor, Sociology, and Julian Bucknall, British citizen living in Colorado Springs, will represent the English government. Murray Ross, artistic director, Theatreworks, will moderate with a heavy gavel. After the panel discussion, Franklin will take questions from audience members. Tea will be served.

Ben Franklin’s Tea Party plays Oct. 14, 15, 16 at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Oct. 16, and a 4 p.m. performance on Oct. 17. Each performance will be broadcast live on the on Comcast 20, the UCCS cable television channel. For reservations and further information, contact the Theatreworks box office, 255-3232, or www.theatreworkscs.org.

– Drew Martorella

One Response to Ben Franklin has Theatreworks tea party

  1. October 5, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    What a delight.  Have seen this “Ben” now 4 times.  The first, I couldn’t see how it could be done any better.  I was wrong.  Each successive performance left me concluding the same thing and the last brought me to tears.  

    The ease with which Mr. Lowell’s performance allows the mind to suspend belief is remarkable.  In short order, the myopic encumbrances of this century’s mindset – and the logical impossibility of the idea itself – fade to be replaced with one of the clearest exposition of the timeless principles that still bind us together across these some 4 centuries.  Artistically breathless and soberly reminded, you leave with that peculiarly American sense of the sacred – that realization of the sheer privilege it is to live in this incredible land.  

    A magical and truly humbling performance.

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