Friday, May 01, 2009

Poetry and Prose About a President

As planned, I spent my extended lunch hour on this May Day at Saint Peter's Church listening to poetry and prose. Every few months, Stanley Eugene Tannen gathers actors and other readers to participate in his TIPA Project (Toward International Peace Through the Arts). Today's program was an Homage to Abraham Lincoln. I arrived a few minutes late and took the first seat I saw available. It turned out that I sat next to two-time Tony winner Tammy Grimes. At the end, Mr. Tannen called the readers to the front for a bow. She turned to me with some confusion and I told her, "Go take your bow, Miss Grimes." She responded, "Darling, what would I do without you?" She deserved that bow as she stole the show today with her reading of Carl Sandburg's "Mr. Lincoln and His Gloves". The program also included:

Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology, "Anne Rutledge" read by Noelle-Helen Tannen

Norman Corwin, "The Rivalry" read by Marian Seldes

Mario Cuomo, "Abraham Lincoln and Our 'Unfinished Work'" read by Brian F. O'Byrne

Barack Obama, "Speech at Springfield, Illinois" read by John S. Major

Ida Tarbell, from The Life of Abraham Lincoln , Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology, "Hannah Armstrong" read by Frances Sternhagen

Adlai Stevenson, "Remarks at Gettysburg", Allen Ginsberg, "Adapted from Neruda's 'Que dispierte el lenador'" read by Bess Rous

Leo Tolstoy, "Lincoln is the World's Greatest Hero", Langston Hughes, "Lincoln Monument: Washington" read by Betsy von Furstenberg

Abraham Lincoln, Reply to a Southern Woman" read by Stanley E. Tannen

Walt Whitman, Selections, read by Fritz Weaver

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