Dr. Daisy Century

Dr. Daisy Century recalls the thrill of receiving a standing ovation for her 3rd grade recitation of The Creation and credits this as the beginning of her desire to perform. Trained as a teacher, Dr. Century earned a BA in Biology at Claflin College, a Master’s in Science Education from South Carolina University and a PhD from Temple University, also in Science Education. This naturally talented teacher and actor couples scientific methods with creative imagination in order to discover how the historical characters she interprets would respond to a given situation. An inspiring educator whose students have returned year after year to thank Dr. Century for the difference she has made in their lives, Daisy has continued to inspire through her thoroughly-researched, dramatically intense portrayals. Dr. Century is a published author, writing under the name Emily Nelson, and is an accomplished singer.

Dr. Century contacted the American Historical Theatre and auditioned for AHT founders Pamela and William Sommerfield in 1999. Since then, Daisy has appeared in venues that include the National Defense Organization, Belmont Mansion, National Archives, Sojourner Truth House, Theodore Roosevelt National Historic Site, the Helicoptor Museum, and numerous schools, libraries, museums and historic sites throughout New Jersey.

Characters portrayed by Daisy Century: Bessie ColemanSojourner TruthHarriet TubmanPhillis Wheatley

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Peyton Dixon

After receiving his BFA in Theatre Performance from Otterbein College, Peyton traveled across the country on the gypsy-like journey as an actor. While in Philadelphia, he was introduced to the world of first-person interpretation, and found an exciting new world of sharing history through a personal lens. Peyton has been seen portraying historic figures for the Republican National Convention, Independence National Historical Park, and the National Archives, and appearing in documentaries on A&E and PBS.

Peyton has been a part of American Historical Theatre since 2001. He continues to research and travel, endeavoring to combine his passions of performance and American history. His goal is to bring to light the accomplishments as well as the imperfections of our founders, framers, and other famous figures. Look beyond the statue, bring them off the pedestal altogether, and see the very real everyman beneath.

Peyton portrays Presidents John Adams and Theodore Roosevelt

Joe Doyle

Joe Doyle studied at Leland Powers School of Radio, Theatre & Television. Mr. Doyle gained theater experience doing live dinner shows for large, diverse audiences. Co-founding the Actors’ Net in 1996 wife his wife, Cheryl, Joe is well-known and well-respected in the Philadelphia and New Jersey theater and news communities. Mr. Doyle won a local Emmy for his performance in “Frank Knows,” a segment of Fox News. He brings talent honed by years of media experience, including his service as a war correspondent during the Viet Nam War in the Marine Corps.

Mr. Doyle has been with the American Historical Theatre since 1992, when he was first asked to participate in AHT’s Yankee Doodles program as a singer, guitar-player and comic. He has performed at venues that include White House Visitors Center, Vice President Cheney’s home, Mount Rushmore Society, Congress Hall, Smithsonian Institution, National Portrait Gallery, and Morven Museum & Garden.

Characters portrayed by Joe Doyle: John Adams

Steve Edenbo

While earning his BA from Dickinson College, Steve Edenbo’s focus was research and writing; however his theater experience included improvisation, and training in voice and singing. Mr. Edenbo was introduced to American Historical Theatre in 1999 by AHT Associate Producer Kim Hanley, He bases his interpretation of Thomas Jefferson on the insight that comes from years of reflection, for which he was awarded a Research Fellowship at Monticello in 2008 by the International Center for Jefferson Studies. Mr. Edenbo also has the honor of interpreting Thomas Jefferson at Philadelphia’s Declaration House, a re-creation by Independence National Historical Parks of the building in which Jefferson lived and wrote the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Edenbo is the only person invited to interpret Thomas Jefferson at this historic site.

Mr. Edenbo has interpreted Thomas Jefferson at venues that include Monticello, The National Archives, Independence National Historical Park: Declaration House, Congress Hall and City Tavern, the Smithsonian Institution, National Constitution Center, University of Virginia, Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, Carpenter’s Hall, Trenton’s Patriot Week, the Philly Pops at Independence Hall, Texas A & M International University, Academy of Natural Sciences, numerous middle and high schools and colleges, and at professional improvement seminars for teachers at locations throughout the United States.

Characters portrayed by Steven Edenbo: Thomas Jefferson

Bob Gleason

Bob Gleason was trained in Theater by performing in 60+ productions at West Chester University, where he became almost a “cult figure.” Mr. Gleason’s acting was further enriched by his service as a Psychiatric Aide at Norristown State Hospital. A member of the Army’s Special Services Chorus, Mr. Gleason shared his four-octave vocal talents as a goodwill ambassador touring the US and Germany. Joining the American Historical Theatre as James Wilson in 1991, the Bicentennial for the Bill of Rights. Mr. Gleason had been portraying this Founding Father for the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge since 1985. But Gleason terms his meeting with AHT’s William and Pamela Sommerfield as a turning point in his personal and professional life. In-depth historical research and audience interactivity have become hallmarks of Mr. Gleason’s historical portrayals.

Since 1991, Bob Gleason has been AHT’s “go to guy” - If you need it, Bob can do it! Over the years, Mr. Gleason has been featured at the White House Visitor’s Center, Ford’s Theatre, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, Constitution Hall, the National Constitution Center, Independence Hall, Mask & Wig, Elder Hostels, Bartram’s Garden, Betsy Ross’ House, the General Warren Inn, and the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge. Bob has been especially popular at schools, museums, historic sites and libraries throughout the United States. He’s now performing for the children of children he previously educated and entertained.

Characters portrayed by Bob Gleason: John Bartram, Alexander Graham Bell, Christopher Columbus, Thomas Edison, Galileo Galilei, William Howe, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, Samuel Morse, Thomas Paine, Charles Willson Peale, William Penn, Edgar Allan Poe, David Rittenhouse, Benjamin Rush, Gilbert Stuart, Baron von Steuben, Mark Twain,  John Wanamaker, James Wilson, John Witherspoon, Frank Lloyd Wright

Ben Goldman

Born into a theatrical family that includes his mother Marjorie Goldman portraying Susan B. Anthony for AHT, Ben Goldman began his acting career at a young age. Active in his high school’s theater program, Ben continued to pursue his dramatic passion at New York University, studying Dramatic Literature and French. Ben’s fluid French and impeccable French accent, cultivated when he studied abroad in Paris as an NYU undergraduate, combine for an impressive artistically-authentic portrayal. Other talents include a rich singing voice, as part of a barbershop quartet Ben formed before he completed his Bachelor’s Degree at NYU.

In 2007, the American Historical Theatre tapped Ben to portray the young Lafayette, who was 19 at the Battle of Brandywine.  Ben’s uncanny resemblance to the youthful Lafayette, the actor’s ease with the French language and spot-on French accent, as well as his quick wit and intelligence converge for a convincing portrayal of the young Lafayette.  When the White House commissioned AHT to create and perform On Fire For Liberty, Goldman was the natural choice for the Marquis de Lafayette. The two-person play highlighted the friendship between two people, MDL and George Washington, and between two countries, France and the emerging United States. On Fire For Liberty was performed with great success in the East Room of the White House for guests that included President George W. Bush and French Republic President Nicolas Sarkozy.  President Sarkozy prided himself on knowing who was French and who was not, but laughed heartily when he discovered that Ben was native to the United States and not to France.

Character portrayed by Ben Goldman: Marquis de Lafayette

Marjorie Goldman

Performing from an early age, Marjorie Goldman’s acting training began when she was a child in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ms. Goldman’s theater experience continued while she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies at Grinnell College in Iowa and with more performances while completing her Master of Arts / ABD, also in American Studies, while attending Boston University. After BU, Marjorie’s self-described “journey of humility through craft” led her to becoming an intern with Theater Ariel. While attending a 1993 event with the Performing Arts League of Philadelphia, a precursor to the Greater Philadelphia Theatre Alliance, Marjorie overheard a conversation with Pamela Sommerfield, Producing Director for the American Historical Theater, and the two talented women began to explore Marjorie Goldman’s portrayal of Susan B. Anthony for AHT.

Since 1993, Ms. Goldman has appeared as Susan B. Anthony in venues that include the National Archives, US Mint, Library of Congress, Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, League of Women Voters, Peddler’s Village / Cock & Bull Restaurant, and the Rocky Mountain Museum of Tennessee.

Characters portrayed by Marjorie Goldman: Susan B. Anthony

Rene Goodwin

Philadelphia-born Rene Goodwin is the consummate communicator through the written, spoken and musical word. Seizing the opportunity to study voice, dance and piano from age 11, Rene’s training continued at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and with Dolores Ferraro Cascarino. She has continued private voice work since 1990, she currently teaches voice, and has chosen to serve as a musical mentor for the Philly Pops, with whom she has performed. Ms. Goodwin has studied ballet and jazz dance, and she still studies tap. Goodwin credits her vibrant spontaneity to high school debate training and to her experience traveling with the Annenberg Children’s Theater Company. As an entertainer doing the Florida circuit as part of a standup duo (formerly with Michael Ryan and now with pianist husband Ed Hagopian), Ms. Goodwin fine-tuned the entertainer’s art of audience give-and-take.

In the 1980’s, Ms. Goodwin was cast in a brilliant murder mystery written and produced by William and Pamela Sommerfield, Founders of the American Historical Theatre, as well as Night Thoughts, a Sommerfield play commissioned by the Pennsylvania Historical Society. Later, the Sommerfields approached Rene to develop her Eleanor Roosevelt presentations. Ms. Goodwin has appeared at venues that include the white House Visitors Center, the Theodore Roosevelt Museum, National Archives, Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, Society Hill Towers, performances for the Red Hat Society and presentations throughout New Jersey for the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. Recently, she appeared on the television program, The People’s Court, as part of a recreation of an Alexander Hamilton trial.

Characters portrayed by Rene Goodwin: Eleanor RooseveltDorothy Parker, Katharine Drexel

Steve Gulick

Steve Gulick is a practicing Quaker whose specialty with the American Historical Theatre is portraying 17th and 18th century Quakers, including William Penn and Thomas Paine. With considerable theater and vocal training and experience, a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and a background as a writer and speaker, Mr. Gulick teaches English and has taught Public Speaking and Theater at Community College of Philadelphia. His Quaker affiliations and responsibilities have included Care and Counsel for Meetings and Members at the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, and Steve helped facilitate citizen participation at the First UN Special Session on Disarmament. Steve’s innate comfort with and connection to people combines effectively with his theatre improv skills, resulting in programs that engage and inform. Working with AHT since 1983, when Steve met and worked with AHT Founder Pamela Sommerfield on the Emmy winning Lucretia Mott documentary for PBS, Mr. Gulick has performed at Pennsbury Manor, Graeme Park, Crossroads of the American Revolution, Cliveden and Common Sense’s 225th Anniversary Celebration on CSpan’s American Writers Series. Mr. Gulick has been featured at the Newseum (a new museum dedicated to the First Amendment in Washington, DC), Historic Rittenhouse Town, Carpenters’ Hall, the African American Museum, and the Library Company’s celebration of the anniversary of the publication of Common Sense.

Characters portrayed by Steve Gulick:

Thomas PaineWilliam Penn

Kim Hanley

Kim Hanley is a fine actor, singer, costumer and dancer.  She trained and danced from an early age with the School of American Ballet and the Eglevsky Ballet in New York, as well as with the visiting Bolshoi Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet. She credits her dance background and in-depth high school acting courses, including daily vocal labs and onstage work, for her ability to rise to any occasion when performing. In addition to her dance background, Ms. Hanley is an accomplished costumer whose specialty is historical fashion

Kim began interpreting Abigail with AHT from 1997 and now has added Abigail Adams, Betsy Ross, Molly Pitcher, Alice Roosevelt and Annie Oakley, to her retinue.  Ms. Hanley has appeared at the White House Visitors Center, National Archives, National Portrait Gallery, and many others.

Characters portrayed by Kim Hanley:

Abigail AdamsColonial WomanAnnie Oakley, Mary Pickersgill,  Molly PitcherAlice RooseveltBetsy Ross

Neill Hartley

A busy Actor, Director, Spokesperson and Teacher, Neill Hartley earned a Master of Fine Arts from Temple University in Acting. A faculty member of Temple University from 1989-2000 and since 2005 teaching Acting; and on the faculty of the University of the Arts since 1994 teaching Speech & Voice, Neill is also much in demand as a speech and dialect coach for several professional theaters. A much sought-after actor, performing with companies that include the Arden Theater, InterAct Theatre, and the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, the multi-talented Mr. Hartley won a Barrymore Award for Ensemble for 1812 Productions’ Batboy, The Musical. Besides teaching, coaching and acting, Neill is a busy director for theaters that include Philadelphia Young Playwrights, University of the Arts, University of Pennsylvania, Arcadia University, Isis Productions, the Brick Theater and the Luna Theater. Serving as Artistic Director for Acting Without Boundaries, a theater company providing large-scale musical opportunities for physically-disabled teens and young adults, Neill does commercials, has roles in feature films and has enjoyed a longstanding commitment as the spokesperson for Spray-N-Grow, a national organic gardening products company.

The AFTRA/SAG/CORE theater professional joined the American Historical Theatre in 2000 with his one-person shows, Neill credits his voice and movement training from Temple University for his fluid “morphing” from one easily identifiable character to another. His programs have been tremendously popular at theaters and venues that include (what’s now) the Tweeter Center, Academy of Music, Act II Playhouse, Walnut Street Theater Studio 3, Congress Hall, Smithsonian Institution, and the American Glider Council, as well as just about every library and civic group in New Jersey for his Ichabod Crane program each October.

Characters portrayed by Neill Hartley: PT BarnumIchabod CraneSherlock HolmesCharles LindberghFranklin D. RooseveltJoshua Lionel Cowen (trains)

Keith Henley

Keith Henley’s background is one of great diversity.  He graduated from South Carolina State College with a major in Chemistry and minor in mathematics and biology. Later, he went on to study Theatre Education at Camden County College in Blackwood, New Jersey. He currently owns and operates J.O.Y. Productions, Queenie’s Homemade Sweets and Catering, & Alpha Designs. In addition, he is the Artistic Director and Choreographer for Folkloric Heritage Culture Arts Company Inc. of Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Keith began his historic interpretation career with Historic Philadelphia Inc. and has since worked for American Historical Theatre and History First Hand, and has performed for the Smithsonian Associates Teaching American History program, Historic Germantown, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia as well as local libraries.

Characters portrayed by Keith Henley:

Henry Box BrownGeorge Washington CarverLangston HughesMatthew HensonMartin Luther King, Jr.

Pat Jordan

An accomplished actor, operatic singer and historian, Pat Jordan is a Philadelphia treasure. Working with the American Historical Theatre since 1992, Pat is known for her beautiful voice, her sparkling blue eyes and the dramatic intensity of her performance. With a degree in theatre from Villanova, training at Juilliard Opera Workshops, and years of experience with the German Theatre Guild and AHT, MS. Jordan’s roles have included Shakespearean heroines, Victorian Music Hall comediennes, and opera divas. A devoted teacher, Pat has led history camps, taught at the Institute for the Gifted and at Bryn Mawr College. She was honored in 2009 by the Darlington Arts Center for her many years of teaching as part of the award-winning Chester Youth Theatre Outreach Program. Her Rocks in the Sun play about every person’s right to clean water led to a gratifying performance and workshop for young people whose caretakers died in the 9-11 tragedy. Pat Jordan has appeared at venues that include the White House Visitors Center, Library of Congress,  Smithsonian Institute, National Archives, Franklin Institute, Peddler’s Village (Cock & Bull Restaurant), National Constitution Center, Union League, National Portrait Gallery, Deshler-Morris House and Mount Vernon.  Besides acting and singing, Ms. Jordan creates family-friendly scripts appropriate for audience-members of all ages.

Characters portrayed by Pat Jordan:

Amelia Earhart, Mary Todd Lincoln, Martha Washington, Louisa May Alcott, Clara Barton and Dorothea Dix

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Eben Kuhns

Eben Kuhns is a Graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. When not portraying Alexander Hamilton, he may be found at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate portraying George Washington "Washy" Parke Custis and John Anderson, Distillery Manager.

As Alexander Hamilton he has appeared at Hamilton Grange National Memorial, Independence National Historical Park, The National Archives NYC, Smithsonian Institute – National Postal Museum, the New York Historical Society, Yorktown Battlefield, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, as well as Schools, Museums, Legal Seminars, and Historical Associations across the Nation.

Portrays: Alexander Hamilton

Jill Lawrence

Jill Lawrence brings the woman we now know as Jackie O’ to life by interpreting her tireless efforts for the public good. By conveying Jacqueline's personal and professional struggles and victories, a poignant portrait of the First Lady, wife, mother, and activist vividly comes alive. By bringing historic preservation center stage, Jacqueline's gift for the future was to preserve the past.

Jill earned her BFA with honors in Musical Theater from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and her high school diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. She has performed with the Ziggaraut Theater in Los Angeles, The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, American Family Theaters and The Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, just to name a few. For many years she welcomed visitors from all over the world as Betsy Ross at the Betsy Ross house. Jill has been an adjunct professor at Camden County College, a writer and tour guide for Once Upon A Nation and a guest storyteller at the National Archives in Washington. Like Jackie Onassis, Jill’s favorite role is being Mommy to her daughter and son.

Jill also has developed a delightful, educational, and highly interactive 2-person Pirate show for young audiences: Swashbucklers and Sea Dogs: Life on the High Seas during the great age of Privateers and Pirates.

Portrays: Jacqueline Kennedy OnassisSwashbucklers and Sea Dogs!

Virginia K. Loomis

Virginia K. Loomis has been performing professionally for over 35 years. She discovered the world of historic interpretation nearly 15 years ago. With a strong improvisation background (founding member of the popular troupe "Comic Relief") the marriage of improve and history is a perfect fit for Virginia, A Temple University Theatre alum, she has been involved in nearly every aspect of her art, from acting to directing, writing and teaching. She has appeared in theatrical productions throughout the U.S. and Canada. A one-time featured regular on WXPN's award winning radio show 'KID'S CORNER', she portrayed everyone from Kate Smith to her personal favorite, Molly Brown, of Titanic fame. As an interpreter she has appeared at The Academy of Natural Science, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Union League, The Franklin Institute, The Kennedy Cultural Center in Fort Worth, TX, The Winterthur Museum, and others. Virginia has crisscrossed the centuries in her interpretive work, but feels most comfortable in the 1700's. Her love of tavern lore, women's history, art, and minor obsession with Yellow Fever, make Virginia a lively and unique interpreter.

Characters portrayed by Virgina Loomis:

Lucy Say

John Lopes

John Lopes has been acting in California and then in Philadelphia since 1990. With a BA in English from California State and an MFA in Acting from Temple University, Mr. Lopes is a well-trained theater artist. John’s acting experience includes performances with Hunger Theater, Arcadia Shakespeare Festival, Lantern Theater, Commonwealth Classic Theater and in productions by the Walnut Street Theater. Winner of the Irene Ryan Award, John is an adjunct professor at Temple University.

Performing as part of the American Historical Theater since 2007, Mr. Lopes can ride, dance the minuet and fence, all talents he brings as part of his interpretation of George Washington. John has appeared in venues that include the Templeton Foundation at Princeton, New Jersey; Federal Hall in New York; Washington Crossing National Park and Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania.

Characters portrayed by John Lopes:

George Washington, Colonial Man

Dean Malissa

With a degree in photojournalism from the Newhouse School of Syracuse University, and experience as a corporate fellow for 25+ years, Dean Malissa was engaged in the world of business but was not of the world of business. He credits his experience in sales and marketing as his training ground for acting. Mr. Malissa’s theater credits include five productions at the Walnut Street Theatre, as well as industrial films and commercials. Auditioning for the Liberty Tones (Malissa sings basso to baritone), Dean was introduced by American Historical Theatre’s Kim Hanley to AHT Founders William and Pamela Sommerfield, for what Dean describes as arms-length mentoring.  By February of 2001, Dean had begun leading musters, and had cobbled together George Washington history modules that reflected careful research. Mr. Sommerfield, the first, and only, historical interpreter of George Washington at Mount Vernon at that time, then introduced Mr. Malissa to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association as the General. About 2005, the mantle was being passed. Now, portraying George Washington is Dean Malissa’s full-time job.At a commanding height of 6’5”, Dean Malissa is as tall, or taller, than Commander-in-Chief George Washington.  Both men had reddish hair, and Malissa shares Washington’s ability to dance minuets, jigs and reels, as well as to ride. Mr. Malissa continues to add to his portrayal based on source, text and fact; and because he is adept at reading his audience, his portrayal is further enriched by audience interaction. Dean Malissa has portrayed George Washington at venues that include the White House’s East Room, Mount Vernon, National Archives, National Portrait Gallery, National Constitution Center, Liberty Hall, Valley Forge Historical Park, Independence National Historical Park, Mt. Rushmore, United Airlines to China, Deshler-Morris House, City Tavern, the Masons of Maryland, Trenton Patriot’s Week and Texas A&M.

Characters portrayed by Dean Malissa: George Washington

William McIlhenny

A self-taught actor, William McIlhenny combined a life-long love of history with his natural acting talents when he began participating in eighteenth century reenactments. Bill’s hobby, now his career, provided on-the-job training for this versatile, well-prepared historical performer. With his eye for detail, Bill’s characterizations always include wonderful props such as authentic military weapons, flags, signs and even his own marquis officer’s tent.

Mr. McIlhenny’s affiliation with the American Historical Theatre began in 2007 in venues that have included such Philadelphia historic sites as Cliveden and Stenton. Since then, audiences in the tri-state area have been treated to an intimate look at life for everyday people during and after the Revolutionary War. Whether Bill is portraying a British aide-de-camp to General Howe, an American or British cavalryman, a post-Revolutionary War able-bodied seaman, or a Union soldier in the Civil War, Bill’s interactive presentations are exciting and accurate portrayals that evidence the self-discipline and dedication required of military men of any era.

Characters portrayed by William McIlhenny:

Sailor/Soldier

Elizabeth Michaels

A self-taught actress, Elizabeth Michaels began her theater career right after high school. Ms. Michaels received much of her experience with traveling theater groups and dinner theater establishments, especially the Hunterdon Hills Playhouse, where she still performs. Elizabeth credits this on-the-job training with teaching her how to successfully engage an audience. Ms. Michaels’ venues include the White House Visitors Center, the National Portrait Gallery, and Morven Museum & Garden.  Besides being much in demand as a paid actress, Elizabeth also volunteers in Plays for a Living, a program dedicated to creating awareness of life-threatening diseases of children and adolescents.

Characters portrayed by Elizabeth Michaels:

Dolley MadisonRosie the Riveter

William Ochester

Earning a Bachelor of Science from Cornell, William Ochester was a member of Cornell’s ROTC and spent several months serving as an officer in basic training camps. Bill moved to the Philadelphia area in 1980, working at Hahneman, Presbyterian, Morristown Memorial and Lankenau hospitals as a Physician’s Assistant. A 1998 recruiting poster for historical reenactors led to Bill’s participation in the Continental Light Dragoons and to his employment as a tour guide. Bill left the medical field for this new-found hobby. Intense individual research, combined with Mr. Ochester’s training with American Historical Theatre’s Artistic Director and Playwright, William Sommerfield, and with AHT’s Producing Director, Pamela Sommerifled, transformed Mr. Ochester’s hobby into a passion and his passion into a calling as an Actor/Historian.

Since joining AHT in 2003, Bill Ochester has performed at venues that include the National Constitution Center, Cliveden, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Orchestra, Independence After Hours tours and the University of Pennsylvania’s Annual Quizzo Competition. Mr. Ochester is on the Board of the American Revolution Roundtable. Bill’s respect for and passion about history are contagious.

Characters portrayed by William Ochester:

Benjamin FranklinBaron von Steuben

Bill Robling

Bill Robling has portrayed Benjamin Franklin for 10 years, and has been an actor for over 35 years. Bill's portrayal of Dr. Franklin comes from his years of experience in theatre, hundreds of hours of study of Benjamin Franklin's life, and a commitment to accuracy in costuming, information and demeanor. Franklin is presented with wit and wisdom. Bill's has performed as Franklin for many colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area, dozens of corporate clients, public and private schools, historic sites, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has appeared as Benjamin Franklin for the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, the University of Virginia Library official welcome film, the Nerdist Podcast, Fox News Channel, ABC Good Morning America, NBC 10 Philadelphia and many other media outlets. Dr. Franklin has also officiated at weddings, thanks to the Pennsylvania Self-Uniting marriage license. Bill Robling lives in Philadelphia.

Characters portrayed by Bill Robling: Benjamin Franklin

Carol Spacht

Carol Spacht performs extensively in the Philadelphia region, presenting hundreds of interactive programs to schools, libraries and civic organizations. She studied theatre at Villanova University and graduated with highest honorsfrom Eastern University with degrees in Literature and Theatre Arts. An author of original scripts and scholarly papers, she also completed a commissioned project culminating in the publication of Whitpaine’s Creek, a book on early Pennsylvania history.

As an historic interpreter, Carol portrays several women from history, including Martha Washington for Valley Forge National Park, the Smithsonian Institution and others. She appears regularly as Betsy Ross, our nation’s premier flag maker, and has extensive knowledge of hand-sewing techniques, textiles, and the trade of the upholsterer in the eighteenth century.  An engaging and delightful storyteller, students of all ages enjoy the educational and interactive “Tree to Lumber” tours on forestry and the Pennsylvania lumber trade led by Carol and her husband, Dave, at Spacht Sawmill in Worcester, Pennsylvania.

Characters Portrayed by Carol Spacht:

Betsy Ross, Hannah Callowhill Penn, Martha Washington, Juliette Gordon Low

David S. Taylor

David S. Taylor grew up in Southern New Jersey. He received a B.A. in Speech and Theatre from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) and he holds a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Maine.

Taylor has enjoyed decades of performance experience: theatre in Maine (early participant with Acadia Repertory Theatre and Penobscot Theatre Company), and local and regional theatre in New York (including New Shakespeare Festival), California and New Jersey. He has extensive film and television credits to his name, with Principal performances such as “Monty Hoover” (the cab driver) in GIRL INTERUPTED and numerous parts on daytime television drama (including ALL MY CHILDREN, GUIDING LIGHT, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, ANOTHER WORLD, AS THE WORLD TURNS). He is a long standing member of SAG/AFTRA.

Taylor has been a first person interpreter for over 10 years. In Philadelphia and regularly plays Independence Hall as Benjamin Franklin. He has considerable experience portraying a number of other characters, primarily throughout Pa and NJ, including Captain Gideon Olmstead, Walt Whitman, George Washington and others.

Characters Portrayed: Walt Whitman

Doug Thomas

Doug Thomas is a professional actor with over 2 decades of experience. Local credits include The Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, Vagabond Theatre and others. He has been immersed in historical interpretation for over 15 years.  Other characters in his repertoire include Meriwether Lewis, William Penn, John Paul Jones, Patrick Henry and a young Governor Livingston. He regularly performs at Independence Hall.

Characters Portrayed by Doug Thomas:

Patrick Henry, Francis Scott Key, Meriwether Lewis, William Penn

Taylor Williams

Performing with regional theaters from an early age, Taylor Williams has enhanced her natural talents with a BS in Education and an MA in Writing and Editing, both from Penn State, as well as an MA in Theater Arts from Villanova University.  Ms. Williams’ theater studies involve classical training with Jim Christy, and training in England at the Royal National Theater that included voice work with Cecily Berry and Patsy Rodenberg. A practicing lawyer for 30+ years, with a J.D. degree from Temple University, Ms. Williams heads the litigation unit for Pennsylvania’s Unified Judiciary, representing Pennsylvania’s justices, judges and court systems, predominately in cases of constitutional scope, and largely in federal court. She argues regularly before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and other courts.  Ms. Williams is on the board of Philadelphia Young Playwrights, the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre,  Act II Playhouse and the Greater Philadelphia Theatre Alliance. For many years, Taylor taught classical acting classes at the Walnut Street Theater, and regularly teaches a course she developed on theatre skills for lawyers for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. She also frequently speaks at state and regional appellate and trial judges conferences. Taylor has been honored by the Welsh Society of Philadelphia for her contributions as a lawyer, actor and teacher, and by the Philadelphia Young Playwrights for her work in advancing Philadelphia’s non-profit theatre community.

Living across the street from American Historical Theatre cofounders Pamela and William Sommerfield, Ms. Williams was approached by AHT in the late 1980’s. Pam knocked on her door, inquiring if Taylor would be interested in co-creating a program about Alice Paul for the Smithsonian Institution as part of their series, Women in Politics. Both were enthusiastic about the suffragists, women often maligned as “crazy” because of their daring ideas. After launching the program, Equal Rights…the Other Amendment, Taylor Williams has performed in venues that include the University of Iowa, University of Pennsylvania’s Law School, a tour of colleges in the southern states, and the Frazier Museum. She is especially proud of recreating Alice Paul’s speech introducing the ERA at Seneca Falls, with Hillary Clinton and other notable politicos present at the ERA summit.

Characters portrayed by Taylor Williams: Alice Paul

John Zak

John is a professional actor and voice-over artist based in Philadelphia. Most recently he has performed Duncan in Macbeth and Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night. And among his many roles some of his favorites have been Michael in Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Detective Fix in Around the World in 80 Days, Arte in John Guare’s House of Blue Leaves, Josh in Alan Ayckbourn’s My Wonderful Day, Barry in Yussef El Guindi’s Jihad Jones & the Kalashnikov Babes, Little Monk in Brecht’s The Life of Galileo, Stefan in The European Lesson (Jo Stromgren Kompani--Norway tour), and Caliban in The Tempest. And 2016 also marks his 20th year of performing competitive improvisational comedy with Comedy Sportz (www.comedysportzphilly.com).

Portrays:

James Madison