Spend An Evening with John Wilkes Booth

Feb 22, 2022
An Evening with John Wilkes Booth at Sierra Madre Playhouse

Sierra Madre Playhouse will present An Evening with John Wilkes Booth, a show about the man who was a famous stage star and an admired celebrity, who became the first man to murder a President and subsequently become one of the most vilified men in American history.

John Wilkes Booth (1838-1865) was notable on several accounts. He was a successful and wealthy actor, and member of a celebrated show business family (son of Junius Brutus Booth and brother to Edwin and Junius Jr.). One critic called him "the handsomest man in America." Walt Whitman called him a genius. But this Booth would ultimately become known as the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln.

In An Evening with John Wilkes Booth, you'll get to meet the man and learn what he thought and what motivated him: his rivalry with his more-celebrated brother Edwin (who was a Unionist); John's love for the South, and his hated of Lincoln. You'll hear of the initial failed plot to kidnap Lincoln, and of the subsequent plans to not only kill Lincoln but also other political and military figures as well. You'll see what happened when Booth begins his flight from retribution after his bloody deed and observe the final outcome for Booth when his pursuers find him.

Stephen Spiegel portrays Booth. His previous stage credits include The Cause My Soul (a prequel to Othello), The Journals of Osborne P. Anderson, Blood in the Cat's Neck, Down in Front, and God help us. Recent film credits include Obsessed, Mountain Man, Out of the Blue. You may have seen him in one of his 20 national commercials. He trained at American Conservatory Theatre. He is a member of the Fierce Backbone Theatre Company.

Lloyd J. Schwartz is director and co-writer. A man of all media, he wrote for the TV series Love, American Style; Alice; The Munsters Today; The A Team, The Love Boat, Baywatch and more. As an ABC network executive, he supervised production on Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, What's Happening and Three's Company. With his father, TV legend Sherwood Schwartz, he co-created Harper Valley P.T.A. Lloyd also produced numerous iterations of the Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island franchises (created by Sherwood) for feature films, television and stage. With his wife Barbara, Lloyd created the long-running Storybook Theatre at Theatre West. He has also had 34 produced plays.

Clinton Case is the co-writer. Case thoroughly researched the life and career of Booth, gaining access to area of Ford's Theatre in Washington not open to the public, as well as literally following Booth's footsteps in the boardinghouses and swamps where he trod. Case was an actor and stand-up comedian. He died in February, 2018.

This show played in 2017 at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and won the Producers' Award. The play also received a nomination for best solo show.