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Lincoln’s Indiana legacy lives on through theater, song, dance

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‘A. Lincoln: A Pioneer Tale’ opens Friday

LINCOLN CITY – President Abraham Lincoln grew up in southern Indiana.

“My childhood-home I see again, And gladden with the view: And still as mem’ries crowd my brain, There’s sadness in it too,” said President Lincoln in reference to his Indiana homestead.

In 1816, Thomas, Nancy, Sarah, and Abraham Lincoln moved from their home in Kentucky to the new state of Indiana. The nation’s 16th president lived in a one-room log cabin from the time he was 7 until the age of 21. In Indiana, he studied by candlelight, received his one year of formal education, took two flatboat trips to New Orleans, and suffered the great losses of both his beloved mother and sister.

In the land of Indiana’s Lincoln sits a 1,500-seat, covered amphitheater named for the 16th president himself, Lincoln Amphitheatre. Built in the 1980s, the community visionaries behind the building of the amphitheater wanted to tell the little known story of Lincoln’s Indiana years to the nation through theater. During the summer months, visitors can witness those stories come to life in the outdoor musical drama “A. Lincoln: A Pioneer Tale.”

“A. Lincoln: A Pioneer Tale” is written and directed by Ken Jones, the resident playwright for Northern Kentucky University. Jones hopes audiences not only will enjoy the theatrical spectacle of the large dance and choral numbers, but walk away with a sense of joy and pride that a young pioneer boy could grow up to be one of the greatest leaders of all time.

“Our 16th [resident was homegrown in Indiana. I feel that we all know a lot about the President Lincoln, the Civil War leader … but there are so many stories of the boy. I learned so many things about Abe’s friends and family, and I believe that those friends and family sculpted this great leader,” Jones said.

President Lincoln acts as the narrator in “A. Lincoln: A Pioneer Tale.” The production begins with a scene between President Lincoln and his two boys, Willie and Tad. His two sons begin to ask their father questions about his Indiana boyhood years. 

As President Lincoln starts to answer his sons’ questions, the scene fades and his stories come to life on the very grounds they took place.

“A. Lincoln: A Pioneer Tale,” the two-act musical play enhanced by an original score of ten songs, will take to the Lincoln Amphitheatre’s stage Friday and will run Wednesday to Saturdays evenings beginning at 7:30 p.m. CDT with matinees Sunday, June 16 and Wednesday, June 26 at 2 p.m. CDT.

Ticket prices are $19 for adults; $16 for seniors ages 55 and older, students ages 7 to 21, and military; and $6 for children ages 6 and under. 

An optional buffet dinner is available to guests who make reservations at least five days in advance for an additional price.

Tickets for the production are currently on sale at www.LincolnAmphitheatre.org or through the box office at (800) 264-4ABE.