Coming Up! 2011 Two Rivers Chautauqua Sept. 16-17

Two Rivers Chautauqua 2011: Lighten Up!

Featuring American Humorists

This year, Two Rivers Chautauqua will feature American humorists, including poet Dorothy Parker, co-founder of New York City's Algonquin Round Table; author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain; and American cowboy, comedian, social commentator and vaudeville actor Will Rogers, during evening performances on Friday, Sept. 16 and Saturday, Sept. 17. All events will take place at Cross Orchards Historic Site in Grand Junction during the Colorado Wine Festival. Combining the two events in one fabulous fall trip is highly recommended!

On Friday, Sept. 16, the gates will open at 4:30 for Two Rivers Chautauqua Lighten Up! Musical entertainment will begin under the big ten at 5:30 pm, and Young Chautauquan student scholar-performers from Weld County School District #51 will portray their historical characters beginning at 6:30 pm.

At 7:45, Mark Twain, portrayed by George Frein, will take the stage to inform and amuse the audience. Mark Twain was the pen name for Samuel Langhorne Clemens, borned in 1835 and raised in Hannibal, Mo. Although best known and loved for his classic novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain wrote many others as engaging, including The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, The Prince and the Pauper, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and Life on the Mississippi.

Dr. George Frein, a scholar/performer for the Great Plains Chautauqua Society until 1997, portrayed Father De Smet, Henry Adams, Herman Melville and Mark Twain. He has since added several more characters, including John Adams, John Winthrop, John James Audubon, Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Seuss.

On Saturday, Sept. 17 the gates will open at 12:30 pm for the second session of Young Chautauqua performances by students in our local Young Chautauqua programs, which will continue throughout the afternoon until 4 pm.

Other afternoon activities will include "Out Takes: The Hollywood Career of Dorothy Parker," a lecture by Professional Chautauquan Suzan King beginning at 1:15 pm in The Barn. In addition to Dorothy Parker, Suzan King has several other Chautauqua characters, including Abigail Adams, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Emily Dickinson, Margaret Bourke White, Eleanor Roosevelt, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Dr. Angie Debo, Eudora Welty and Georgia O'Keeffe. She will give her Chautauqua portrayal of Dorothy Parker under the big tent later in the evening.

Poet Dorothy Parker, born in 1893, became a founding member in 1919 of New York City's Algonquin Round Table, known for its scathing wit and intellectual commentary. An informal gathering of writers who lunched at the Algonquin Hotel, the "Vicious Circle," as the roundtable was also called, included Robert Benchley, Harpo Marx, George S Kaufman and Edna Ferber. In 1922, Parker published her first short story, Such a Pretty Little Picture, and her first collection of poetry, Enough Rope, was a best seller in 1926. On the advisory committee that helped Harold Ross create The New Yorker magazine, Dorothy Parker later became its chief book reviewer.

At 2:30 pm in The Barn, Professional Chautauquan Doug Watson will give a lecture titled "Will's Economic and Political Observations." Mr. Watson, who will appear in the big tent later in the evening to portray Will Rogers, has worked with the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore and Oologah, Okla., making presentations as Will Rogers in more than 150 Oklahoma public schools. He has made more than 600 performances throughout the nation as Will Rogers.

Will Rogers was born William Penn Adair Rogers in 1879 in Oologah, Indian Territory (what is now Oklahoma). An American cowboy, he was placed in the Guiness Book of World Records for his talent with a rope, throwing three lassos at once. He traveled in South Africa with Texas Jack's Wild West Show and in Australia and New Zealand with the Wirth Brothers Circus. He appeared at the World's Fairs in St. Louis and New York City, and toured vaudeville circuits in America, Canada and Europe from 1905-1915. During his years in the vaudeville circuits, as well as his time with Ziegfield Follies in 1917, Rogers' career evolved from tricks with the lasso to that of showman, actor, humorist, radio broadcaster, political commentator, author, journalist and American icon.

At 3:45 pm in The Barn, Chautauquan George Frein will give a lecture titled "The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain," and at 5:30 pm, the Two Rivers Chautauqua evening session will begin with musical entertainment under the big tent.

At 6:30 pm, Dorothy Parker will be portrayed by Suzan King under the big tent, to be followed at 7:45 pm by Doug Watson as Will Rogers.

Click here for more information about this year's Two Rivers Chautauqua: Lighten Up!