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Press Release

Media Advisory
For More Information Contact:
Diana Slawson
Director of Special Programs
(209) 954-5020

For Immediate Release:
                                           The Rail Splitter and Rough Rider:
                           Abraham Lincoln & Teddy Roosevelt Live on Stage, June 21

History buffs, meet Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt…up-close and personal!

Don’t miss: The Rail Splitter & the Rough Rider: Speaking Honestly and Carrying a Big Stick for Education, at Delta College’s Tillie Lewis Theater, June 21, 7:30 p.m. No doubt these two giants of U.S. history will convey words of wisdom for all!

Admission: $25 general; $10 for students with ID card, and children 12 or under. 100% of your tax deductible gift will go to support scholarships for Delta’s Passport to College program.

The Rev. Gary Putnam plays Abe Lincoln; Joe Wiegand plays Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt.

The Rev. Gary Putnam has been playing Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, since 1976. Putnam is a retired 71-year-old University of the Pacific campus chaplain, and former pastor of the Central United Methodist Church of Stockton. The Rev. Putnam says his “living history” presentations portray Lincoln as, “not only a great leader and gifted literary figure, but as a man of great spirituality.” His performances are derived from Lincoln’s speeches, letters, writings and anecdotes.

Putnam, who became interested in Lincoln as a historical figure about 50 years ago, makes a magical transformation once he dons a black period suit, top hat, hair dye and makeup. Using his oratory skills as a pastor, Gary Putnam’s portrayals of Lincoln have been called “mesmerizing.” Putnam says he always relies on Lincoln’s reputed wit and humor in his act. “Abe Lincoln was a great storyteller. I perform some of Lincoln’s actual stories, more like a theatrical presentation.”

The Rev. Putnam believes Lincoln’s message is still relevant in today. “No one faced greater adversaries than did Lincoln. By the moral force of doing that which was right, he won people over.”

Not done yet…another presidential legend will materialize before your eyes. It’s not unreasonable to say that “Joe Wiegand is Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States.” His striking resemblance to Roosevelt is eerie. Wiegand, regarded by many as the nation’s premiere Theodore Roosevelt “reprisor” is entertaining audiences nationwide with his one man shows. He has even performed in the East Room of the White House.

Joe Wiegand is a political science graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He brings “T.R.” to life with an unparalleled grasp of history and uncanny way of convincing you that you are actually in the company of the great Rough Rider. Wiegand says, “As T.R., I’ll share stories full of adventure, laughter and inspiration…as the man himself.”

Wiegand presents stories from Roosevelt’s lifetime of service and adventure, ranging from cowboy excitement in the Dakotas, to the Rough Riders charge up San Juan Hill. As T.R., Wiegand takes audiences on an African safari; up the Amazon River, and recounts tales of building the Panama Canal. “Theodore Roosevelt was an amazing person,” explains Wiegand. “He was a frail young boy who built his body and dedicated himself to the ‘Vigorous Life’ and ‘Square Deal.’ T.R. was also a family man, showman and storyteller. I use those qualities to recount his amazing life.” Wiegand adds, “Roosevelt’s daughter Alice said famously: Father wanted to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at ever funeral and the baby at every christening.”

The Rail Splitter and the Rough Rider, live on stage, June 21, 7:30 p.m. at Delta’s Tillie Lewis Theater. It promises to be a memorable evening!

These “living history” performances will benefit Delta College’s Passport to College program. “Passport” is a unique community, business and education partnership created in 2006-07 as an early intervention program for all fifth grade students in Delta’s district. Passport to College offered all 10,000 of those fifth graders two years of free tuition at Delta College, contingent on this agreement: Stay in school and graduate high school. 7000 students signed the Passport agreement.

For Ticket Information: (209) 954-5110, or visit Delta’s Center for the Arts Box Office:

Rev. Gary Putnam as Abe lincoln

                                   The Rev. Gary Putnam as President Abraham Lincoln
                                                        (Courtesy: Clifford Otto/The Record)

Joe Wiegand as Teddy Roosevelt

    Joe Wiegand plays President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt in the East Room of the White House.

Rail Splitter & Rough Rider Poster



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San Joaquin Delta College
5151 Pacific Ave
Stockton, California 95207
(209) 954-5151