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Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 28, 2012

Museum on Main announces speakers for 2013

'An Evening with George Burns' kicks off the series

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Museum on Main has announced the performers and speakers who will take part in the 2013 Ed Kinney Series, "An Evening With..." at the Firehouse Arts Center beginning in January. During these interesting and informative presentations, audiences come face to face with people making history today as well as actors who look and sound as if they have stepped out from the pages of history books.

"There's something very special about getting up close with characters from the past," said the museum's Director of Education Jennifer Amiel, who coordinates the series.

"In this style of performance, also known as Chautauqua, the performer is in character from the moment they step onto the stage. They even answer questions in character. It's especially fun when the audience asks questions about events that happened after the character would no longer be alive."

The events are all held at 7 p.m. Tuesdays. The 2013 schedule includes:

* Jan. 8: An Evening with George Burns. At 100 years young, George Burns left a legacy of laughs as one of the few entertainers whose career spanned vaudeville, film, radio, and television. Join film and Broadway actor Duffy Hudson in this musically entertaining portrayal of the beloved cigar smoking comedian.

* Feb. 12: An Evening from a Grandmother's Perspective: In recognition of Black History Month, Ann Collins takes the stage to examine the Civil War through World War II including perspectives of African American women during those trying years. With a degree in speech and theatre, Collins enjoys presenting to Bay Area audiences year-round.

* March 12: An Evening with Lady Carolyn. Celebrate Women's History Month with Carolyn Runnells, as the lovely Lady Carolyn. Lady Carolyn weaves her way through the threads of history by wearing and displaying clothing that brings history to life. Runnells entertains as she shares stories about people who wore the clothing and the occasions and special circumstances in which they were worn.

* April 2: An Evening with Titanic Expert Richard Shaw. From the depths of the Atlantic come stories of heartbreak and heroism. Join Titanic Expert Richard Shaw for stories of day-to-day activities on the Titanic as well as the famous and not-so-famous tales of passengers and crew.

* May 14: An Evening with Dr. Yee. In honor of Asian-Pacific Islander Month, the museum welcomes Dr. Yee, a historical Chinese herbalist who immigrated to the United States during the Gold Rush in 1850. Yee is best known for his successful treatment of Leland Stanford's ill wife. Dr. Yee is portrayed by Charlie Chin.

* June 11: An Evening with Voices from the Civil War. Brother and sister performing team Ethan and Alyssa Foster return to represent opposing sides of the American Civil War. Ethan takes the stage as politician and political theorist for the south, John C. Calhoun. Alyssa will step into the spotlight as abolitionist and Yankee spy, Elizabeth Van Lew.

* July 9: An Evening with Babe Ruth. Summertime wouldn't be the same without baseball, and baseball wouldn't be the same without Babe Ruth. The Bambino is portrayed by Frank Mullen, a journalism teacher at the University of Nevada and performer of historical characters to audiences nationwide.

* Aug. 13: An Evening with Pleasanton Firefighters. From the all volunteer Pleasanton Fire Department of the 1880s to the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department of today, local firefighters continue to be heroes in the community. Join past and present firefighters as they share their experiences and memories through the years. Historic fires, such as Castlewood Country Club and Ruby Hill Winery, will be discussed along with various memorable, and sometimes humorous, emergency incidents from the past.

* Sept. 10: An Evening with P. T. Barnum. Credited for coining the phrase, "There is a sucker born every minute," Phineas Taylor Barnum was an American showman, businessman, scam artist and entertainer, and he is credited for founding the circus that became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Barnum is portrayed by Doug Mishler, author of "A History of the Ringling Brothers Circus," and a Ph.D. in American cultural history.

* Oct. 8: An Evening with Flutist Annie Wu. Enjoy a dynamic evening of solo flute by Foothill High School student Annie Wu. Earning first-place awards in national competitions and playing to audiences across the world, Annie Wu had already played at Carnegie Hall twice by the age of 14. Annie has been a Junior Volunteer with Museum on Main since 2011.

All events are general seating at the Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave. in Pleasanton. Tickets are $10 general admission; $5 members and seniors; and $3 students/teachers. Tickets may be purchased at Museum on Main, 603 Main St., during regular operating hours. For more information, visit www.museumonmain.org or phone 462-2766.

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