Jefferson & Adams, a play by Howard Ginsberg | Newberry

Jefferson & Adams, a play by Howard Ginsberg

Jefferson & Adams
Left to right: Michael Joseph Mitchell, Erin Sloan, and Gary Houston as John Adams

Left to right: Michael Joseph Mitchell, Erin Sloan, and Gary Houston as John Adams

Performed by the Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Saturday, September 15, 2018

10 am to 12 pm

Ruggles Hall

Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Open to the Public

A moving and powerful dramatization of the remarkable friendship between two presidents of the United States, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams—with the forthright Abigail Adams always playing a major role.

Jefferson & Adams tells the story of the turbulent 52-year friendship of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Adams’ wife, Abigail. Based on the collection of letters between these prolific Founding Fathers—and one equally astute woman—the play fuses compelling political thoughts with passionate personal beliefs. By focusing on the unique relationship between the characters and the spirit of the time, the play reveals each of the three as thoughtful, persevering, dedicated, innovative, relevant—and human.

The personal letters reveal the intense relationship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, as their friendship ignites, flourishes, decays, and resolves itself. The ever-perceptive Abigail Adams acts as a catalyst and motivator while steadfastly maintaining her own beliefs.

Jefferson & Adams traces the period from the inception of the Revolution through the politics of two presidents to the wisdom of men who have lived long lives. It is both poignant and fitting that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died in their respective homes on July 4, 1826—the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Cast: Gary Houston as John Adams, Michael Joseph Mitchell as Thomas Jefferson, and Erin Sloan as Abigail Adams. Directed by Peter Garino, Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Project of Chicago.

Playwright Howard Ginsberg has been writing much of his life, primarily stage plays but also radio and screenplays. He draws upon his extensive experience as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist to explore and illuminate the complexity of his characters. He is a graduate of City College of New York (psychology major) and completed graduate studies (psychiatric casework) at the University of Pennsylvania. His other plays include Murder in Paris, My Matisse, What’s a Girl to Do?, Yes, Doctor!, and Young Messiah.

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Cosponsored with the Jack Miller Center, as part of a series of four programs on Thomas Jefferson.

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Cost and Registration Information 

Free and open to the public; registration required. Register online using this form by 8 am Saturday, September 15.

Doors open half an hour before the program begins, with first-come, first-served seating for registered attendees. If seats remain available, walk-ins will be admitted about ten minutes before the event’s start. Questions? Contact us at or 312-255-3610.