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Live Performances

Occasional plays, musicals, and solo performances dramatically present stories of Abraham Lincoln, his times, and his legacy. Some performances are held in the Museum Plaza, Union Theater, and even in exhibit areas; others are outdoors in Union Square Park. Schedule of upcoming performances.

From My Front Porch is a 15-minute solo presentation set on the front porch of a woman's house in 1863. The character, Rose Adams, talks to visitors about life in Springfield during the Civil War. From My Front Porch is presented in Union Theater except for special performances, which are staged in the Museum Plaza as part of a special event rental.

The re-created presidential box at Ford’s Theatre is the scene of 5-to-7-minute presentations of At Ford’s Theatre. An actor portraying either Mrs. Wade or Jason Knox speaks to the audience about the weeks after the assassination of President Lincoln. “Mrs. Wade’s” performance is based on a letter recounting her brother’s experience at Ford’s Theatre the night Lincoln was shot. “Jason Knox” tells a story based on his own letter that declared he had “witness[ed] the saddest tragedy ever enacted in the country.”

Occasionally, actors portraying such characters as Louisa May Alcott, Walt Whitman, and Civil War soldiers appear in the Museum’s Civil War exhibit areas.

Visitors entering the Cabinet Room exhibit in the Museum may be greeted by an actor portraying Francis Carpenter, the artist who painted the famous portrait of Lincoln and his Cabinet upon which the exhibit is based. The actor In the Cabinet Room: Mr. Francis Carpenter talks to visitors about the events leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation.

One Destiny, a 40-minute play performed in the Union Theatre, tells the story of the Lincoln assassination through the eyes of actor Harry Hawk—who was onstage when Lincoln was shot—and theatre manager Harry Ford. Check the schedule for upcoming performances.

Union Theater productions have included The Last of Mrs. Lincoln, Having Our Say, Reunion, Lincolnesque, and Flight. Performances of the musical The Civil War played to huge crowds outdoors in Union Square Park. Most recently the theater hosted The Heavens Are Hung in Black, a powerful play set during several months in 1862 as the Civil War rages and Lincoln prepares to write what will become the Emancipation Proclamation.