Event—Public Programming

Jefferson & Adams, a play by Howard Ginsberg

Jefferson & Adams

Jefferson & Adams

Jefferson & Adams

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

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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