Monday, November 12, 2012


Presidential First Ladies have always been a fascination, from Martha Washington to Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama.  They have ever exuded mystery and mystique, what they wore, what they said, where they traveled, what they did.

Thanks to the newly created Legacy Theatre, we have the unique opportunity to make the acquaintance of First Lady Abigail Adams, the beloved wife of the second president, John Adams and the mother of the sixth president, John Quincy Adams.  Nonie Sorensen has penned a revealing portrait in "Affectionately, Abigail, for its northeast premiere," that will be presented for its final performance, Saturday, November 17 at 2 p.m. at the James Blackstone Memorial Library, 758 Main Street, Branford.

Much of this personal recollection is based on the abundance of letters that an affectionate Abigail wrote to her devoted husband as he served his country before, during and after the Revolutionary War.  From his early days serving in the Continental Congress, when he stayed for months at a time in Philadelphia, through the writing of the Declaration of Independence, his stints as a diplomat dispatched to Paris and London and finally his election to the presidency, Abigail was his constant counsel on issues of politics and government.

Keely Baisden Knudsen is delightful and charming as the steadfast wife who maintains the home front, raising six children, enduring hardships, surviving epidemics, always supportive of the man who gave so much of himself to his country.

Intimate details of their lives are uncovered through words, many spoken by Tom Schwans who takes on the role of narrator and as John, and the music that highlights moments such as his patriotic work, the hopes for women's equality, Abigail's "duty to soften all his cares" and her declaration "I love America."  A continual selection of visual slides accompanies the presentation, adding color and depth.  This historical pageant is beautifully and sensitively directed by Stephanie Stiefel Williams.

The first two performances took place on Friday and Saturday, November 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. at the Nathanael B. Greene Community Center, 32 Church Street, Guilford. The performance is free but donations are most welcome.

The Legacy Theatre will be holding spring Acting Workshops on the third Saturday of each month from January to May, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Guilford Community Center for ages 12 to adult.  Sessions will deal with Beginning Acting, Improvisation, Monologues and Audition Techniques and other theatrical topics.  Go to or call 203-457-0138.

The primary mission of the Legacy Theatre is to buy and restore the Stony Creek Puppet House Theatre and make it their permanent home.  A  major fundraising effort will culminate this June.

Let the words of Abigail Adams, in her correspondence with her statesm

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