Four historical legends come to life on the stage Monday, June 17, through Thursday, June 20, with Buncombe County Chautauqua 2019: It’s Revolutionary. Performances will be held nightly at 7 p.m. at A–B Tech’s Ferguson Auditorium. This year’s characters include Federalist founding father Alexander Hamilton, portrayed by Ian Rose (June 17); revolutionary martyr Malcolm X, portrayed by Darrick Johnson (June 18); controversial U.S. president Andrew Jackson, portrayed by Larry Bounds (June 19); and First Lady of the turbulent 1960s Jackie Kennedy, portrayed by Leslie Goddard (June 20).
A nonprofit, Buncombe Chautauqua began 20 years ago with a proposal from the founder of the Greenville (SC) Chautauqua that Buncombe County join in to share expenses and programs. When the Buncombe County Library and Friends of the Library ceased sponsorship in 2015, a group of area supporters formed a committee and took on responsibility for continuing the popular series.
Each year, four historical figures in costume take to the stage for a first- person monologue, followed by questions from the audience for the character being portrayed. The historical interpreter then steps out of character to answer questions from the audience about the portrayal and the research involved in bringing history to life onstage.
“The best Chautauqua performances are both entertaining and informative,” says Buncombe Chautauqua committee member Ed Sheary. “The presenters are skilled enough to both make a presentation and then be able to stay in character and engage with the audience in a question-and-answer session. That is what makes Chautauqua special.”
Music is provided each evening before the performance begins. This year’s musical performers, in order of appearance, are Don Pedi, Zoe & Cloyd, The Magills and Laura Boosinger.
To learn more or to donate, visit GreenvilleChautauqua.org/Buncombe. Ferguson Auditorium is located at 340 Victoria Road on the A-B Tech campus in Asheville. Tickets are $7 per night and may be purchased only at the door with cash or check. Box office opens at 6 p.m. Shows often sell out; arrival by 6:30 is recommended. Ample, free parking is available.