Milford, Pike County - Broadway actor and costumer Billy Hipkins stars in an original one-man production that takes a fresh and surprisingly touching look at the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln--really, it does. He focuses on the life of Jeannie Gourlay, an actress poised to star at Ford's Theater before John Wilkes Booth killed the president--and with him, Gourlay's dreams of stardom.
Who is Jeannie Gourlay? And what became of her after Booth shot Lincoln? And why is Billy Hipkins obsessed with her story? "We all have this dream of what our lives should look like, and this pinnacle experience that will take us there," observes Hipkins, who began his career as an actor and dancer before moving behind the scenes on such productions as Memphis, The Phantom of the Opera, and Beauty and the Beast. "Not very many people actually get that moment. Dreams get shifted."
After opening this year's Emerging Artists Theater's "One Man Talking" New Works Series and closing last fall's Fresh Fruit Festival--where he won this year's Fruitie Award for Best Playwright of a Solo Show, Hipkins has gone on to perform in the 3rd annual United Solo Theatre Festival - where the show was awarded Best Educational Piece. He continues to charm and move audiences with his personal journey as told through history. "Billy tells the story of Jeannie Gourlay with such passion and enthusiasm that you can't help but find yourself rooting for an actress from another time period," says actor and Tony nominee Rory O'Malley, who currently appears in The Book of Mormon on Broadway. "He weaves in stories from his own life, making it anything but a dull history lesson. Billy is the funniest, sassiest--and most honest--teacher you'll ever have."
The performance will be held on Saturday February 9th at 7pm and Sunday February 10th at 3pm in the Foundation Room of the Columns Museum. 608 Broad Street Milford, Pa. Tickets can be purchased by calling 570-296-8126. or emailing email@example.com $30 includes "Meet the Actor" wine and cheese reception.
All proceeds go toward the stabilization and preservation of Jeannie (Jennie) Gourlay's stage costumes, which were donated to the Columns Museum in 1954, along with the bloodstained Lincoln Flag. Jeannie lived in Milford from 1888 until her death in 1926. She was a performer in the play Our American Cousin being performed the night of President Lincoln's assassination.
For more information, visit: www.ForJenniesBenefit.com
The PCHS's Columns Museum is located at 608 Broad Street in Milford, Pa., and is open Wednesdays, Friday 6-8 pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 pm. For more information visit them online at www.pikecountyhistoricalsociety.org.