Ford’s Theatre

Ford’s Theatre is one of the most popular tourist venues in DC, though I have always treated it as the home of a very good resident theatre company. After the very thorough restoration was completed in 2009, I started ushering there. As a historic site, Ford’s allows photography of the historical elements. They also recently finally gave up on preventing patrons from photographing the set, as the National Park Service personnel who lead tours during the day have never cared about copyright violation. Since this night I was not ushering, I took the opportunity to goof around with a camera.

Only the first balcony is used these days, as you can see from the lighting rig in the upper level. That original upper level had bench seating.

The ceiling design.

The presidential box is decorated as it was the night Lincoln was assassinated. The portrait of Washington, displayed at the time as the presidential seal was a later innovation, is the original; the flags are reproductions. In the centre is the US Treasury flag, which has no significance. Mr Ford sent a runner to the State Department for flags to decorate the box; the guy was sent back with what you see.

I’m playing tourist!

The show up when these pictures were taken was Liberty Smith, a world premiere romp through the American Revolution. The first scene of Act I is a play within a play - against that backdrop, “Young George Washington” will bend over cut down the cherry tree.

The set for Act II.

The lower box, below the Presidential Box. Props are in there, and it forms a part of the playing area. At the end of Act I, Liberty sits against the central divider to sulk (the girl he loved married someone else). At the beginning of Act II, “the melancholy portion of our tale”, Liberty tries to hide under the stepladder and, when his friend George pulls it away, complains, “That’s my fort!” Geoff Packard is very attractive when he sits in the corner and angsts.