MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

October 7, 2013

Lincoln portrayal feature of program

It's part of commemoration of 150th anniversary of Battle of Honey Springs

People can learn about the Civil War from President Lincoln’s perspective Tuesday in Checotah.

“Portrait of a President: An Evening With Lincoln” will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Checotah Junior High School, 320 W. Jefferson.

It will feature a question-and-answer period with Lincoln, said Christopher Price, the director of the Honey Springs Battlefield. The event is sponsored by the Friends of Honey Springs, Oklahoma Historical Society, Checotah Foundation for Academic Excellence, Oklahoma Humanities Council and National Endowment for the Arts.

This is one of the events marking the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Honey Springs, which was fought July 17, 1863, about six miles northeast of what is now Checotah, Price said.

Actor Fritz Klein will portray Lincoln. A media release says the program will explore how Lincoln persevered while trying to reassure the nation in the midst of war.

Klein said he was invited by the Friends of the Honey Springs Battlefield.

“The events in the west significantly influenced the outcome of the Civil War and, of course, our future,” Klein said in an email interview.

Klein, who is tall and slender, said he first became interested in Lincoln when he was cast as him in a theater program years ago.

“It took off,” he said.

According to Klein’s biography, requests for repeat performances led him to research Lincoln for a one-man show.

Lincoln’s life offers many lessons for today, Klein wrote.

“His leadership, efforts to implement our national motto, ‘E pluribus unum,’ both in thought and deed, the actual saving of the country and, perhaps most significantly, the emancipation,” he wrote.

“In an age when enlightenment principles were on the wane and the prospects of international racism were improving like never before, Lincoln stood on principle.”

Klein lives in Springfield, Ill., where he performs at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and the town’s “History Comes Alive” program.

“Fritz Klein is very well-known,” Price said, adding that Klein has portrayed Lincoln across the country.

Price said the visit has drawn interest from across the state.

“I got a call yesterday from a guy in Tulsa and I got a few calls from the other side of the state,” he said.

The Battle of Honey Springs’ sesquicentennial was marked with a memorial service in July, he said.

A battle reenactment is scheduled for Nov. 9-10 at the battlefield. Action will begin at 1 p.m. both days, Price said. The cost is $5 per person.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

If you go

WHAT: “Portrait of a President: An Evening With Lincoln.”

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

WHERE: Checotah Junior High School, 320 W. Jefferson, Checotah.

ADMISSION: Free.

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