Durango Chautauqua September 19 - 20


Living History Portrayals

Programs staged at the Durango Arts Center, 802 East 2nd Avenue, Durango, 81301.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 7 p.m.

Theodore Roosevelt
Portrayed by Doug Mishler

Theodore Roosevelt’s brilliance as a politician and his dazzling personality enabled him to remake the nation. He was at his core a vigorous reformer who advocated equity for the poor, workers, minorities, and women, as he forever altered the national dialogue about the limits of individualism and capitalism. In sum, Roosevelt is arguably the central figure of the 20th century as he largely shaped the world we live in today. He always lived his motto, “Life is a great adventure and the worst of all possible fears is the fear of living.” An early conservationist, who loved the American West, Roosevelt established Mesa Verde National Park in 1906.

For over 20 years Doug Mishler has been nationally recognized for bringing history to life. Doug has made over 800 first person presentations of more than 20 historical figures including Nikita Khrushchev, Ernie Pyle, P. T. Barnum, Stonewall Jackson, Henry Ford, and Isaac Parker. He has his own theatre company “RAT,” and teaches history at the University of Nevada. Like his idol Theodore Roosevelt, Doug believes there is still plenty of time to grow up and get a “real job”—but later!

Thursday, September 20, 7 p.m.

Thomas Edison
Portrayed by Hank Fincken

Born before the California gold rush and dying during the Great Depression, Thomas Alva Edison helped America become a world power, not with weapons but with insights into how things work and how things can be made to work better. He became the poster child of what America is supposed to be: a land of infinite opportunity for the individual willing to expend a little elbow grease. His inventions include the fluoroscope, alkaline storage battery, phonograph, motion picture camera, megaphone, microphone, cement house, improved telephone, and the electric light system. He didn’t do it alone; his charisma just made you think he did.

For more than 20 years, Hank Fincken has toured as a living history performer in Europe, South America and the United States. He has portrayed Johnny Appleseed, Christopher Columbus, Henry Ford, forty-niner J.G. Bruff, Francisco Pizarro, Prosecuting Attorney Richard Crowley (Susan B. Anthony’s 1873 trial), and W.C. Fields. Hank has published more than twenty essays, a dozen short stories, and one book of children’s plays called: Three Midwest History Plays and Then Some. The Indiana Arts Commission named Hank a Master Artist, and the Indiana Theatre Association gave him a “Teaching and Service Award.”

"Chautauqua" takes its name from the 18th and 19th century tent gatherings that brought together citizens to engage in thoughtful discourse on a variety of topics. Colorado Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is the only Colorado organization exclusively dedicated to supporting humanities education for adults and children statewide. Colorado Humanities helps support Durango Chautauqua programs that bring history to life with monologue and thought-provoking dialogues with audiences. In addition to Colorado Humanities, sponsorship is provided by the Durango Herald, and the Durango Arts Center.