History and Culture Live this Spring at the Rock Island Public Library PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Lisa Lockheart   
Friday, 08 March 2013 15:58

Rock Island, IL: History and culture will be brought to life this spring in five free programs at the Rock Island Public Library.


Mary Todd Lincoln lived a life filled with triumphs and tragedies, but few people really know her. Aided by actress Laura Keyes, the Rock Island Library shares the first lady’s side of the historical story during Women’s History Month in Mrs. Lincoln Goes to Washington. The one-woman show, set against the Lincolns’ first trip to Washington City in 1847, will be performed from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Monday, March 18 in the Rock Island Main Library Community Room, 401 19th Street.

Laura Keyes graduated from UW-Madison with a Master’s Degree in Library Studies, and is currently the Library Director at The Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg. Her past stage roles include Mary Todd Lincoln in Mrs. Lincoln, Elizabeth in Frankenstein, Laura in The Glass Menagerie, Claire in Fuddy Meers, Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

If Mary Todd’s story leaves you wanting to hear more about her famous husband, the library will offer “Lincoln and Liberty, Too,” a special performance of Civil War songs and stories in April by Bob Welch of Dubuque. Combining storytelling and history with music on guitar and banjo, Welch’s Civil War songs bring history to musical life. The performance is at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, April 2 in the Rock Island Main Library Community Room, 401 19th Street.

With current interest high as a result of the Lincoln movie, and the importance of April in Civil War history, Welch has been particularly busy performing at school and public venues. Past performances have included the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, the American Civil War Museum in Gettysburg, PA, the Sailors Creek Battlefield in Virginia and historic Fort Snelling in St. Paul, MN.

Both the Mary Todd Lincoln and Lincoln and Liberty programs are made possible by sponsorship from the Friends of the Rock Island Public Library.

April also marks the 45th anniversary of the death of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The library and the Afro-American Heritage Center of the Quad Cities will recognize the event with a film and discussion of “A Ripple of Hope.” The independent historical documentary retells the events of April 4, 1968, when King was assassinated outside a Memphis hotel room. The film and discussion will be presented from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Wednesday, April 3, in the Rock Island Main Library Community Room, 401 19th Street.

A Ripple of Hope retraces the steps of Presidential Candidate Robert Kennedy as he absorbs the news of King’s death and responds with courage and compassion. Though advised not to speak, Kennedy delivered a moving impromptu address to a tense crowd in Indianapolis. Featuring digitally restored news footage and original music by John Colby, the Grammy Award winning music director of the Ken Burns Civil War soundtrack, A Ripple of Hope dramatically narrates the events of that tragic day through the eyes of those who were there.

Also in April, the library celebrates William Shakespeare’s 449th birthday anniversary with two events.

On April 23, the bard’s presumed birthday, Don Wooten and Genesius Guild will present a look at a fascinatingly complex character and play with “Who is Macbeth?” In what is considered to be Shakespeare’s shortest and bloodiest tragedy, Macbeth employs themes and elements from all other Shakespearean plays. But who was Macbeth really? What do we know about him? Learn more with this free event on 6:30 pm on Tuesday, April 23, Rock Island Main Library, 401 19th Street.

Next, the library considers Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with help from high school student performers from Rockridge High School, and a discussion led by members of Prenzie Players. Students will present a pivotal scene from the play, followed by discussion, at 6:30 pm on Thursday, April 25, at the Rock Island Main Library Community Room, 401 19th Street.

All programs are free and open to the public. For more news about Rock Island Public Library events, visit www.rockislandlibrary.org, call 309-732-7323 (READ) or follow the Rock Island Library on Facebook and Twitter. A monthly calendar of library events is available online and at Rock Island Library locations.


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