WILTON – On Saturday, September 12, the U.S. Grant Historic Site will re-enact the November, 1948 CBS radio broadcast of “YOU ARE THERE,” in a special “radio theater” performance at the Visitors Center. This particular broadcast depicted the historic events that occurred at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865, where Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the U.S Civil War. There will be two show times on Saturday, a matinee at 3 p.m. and another at 7 p.m.
“YOU ARE THERE” was a radio show that took listeners into the past each week by depicting historical events as though they were current news broadcasts. A small group of actors and musicians will be supported by on-the-scene reports, music selections, period commercials and sound effects in order to bring the broadcast to life.
The play will include person-on-the-street type interviews with Union and Confederate Generals. Portrayals include Generals Grant, Lee, Custer, Sheridan, Longstreet, Wise, Porter and others. 1940’s radio memorabilia from the Old Stone Fort Museum Scribner Collection will be on display, including an authentic on-air sign and microphone.
Portraying Ulysses S. Grant at the event is Larry Clowers, who has been performing as the general and former president for 20 years, with over 6,000 programs. Clowers’ wife, Constance, is known for her portrayal of Julia Grant. Clowers has been featured on “Good Morning America,” “ABC News World Tonight,” and “Save the Wilderness,” a commercial for the Civil War Trust. According to Hady Finch, the program chair at Grant Cottage, Clowers’s physical presence is uncanny to Grant’s and he is his “splitting image.”
Don Vanhart will be playing the role of General Robert E. Lee. The Clowers and Vanhart will be on the porch of Grant Cottage, prior to the 3 p.m. showing, to do a meet and greet, as well as to discuss the events that transpired at the McLean House parlor back in April of 1865.
The 77th NY Regimental Balladeers and Company will be providing music to accompany the radio theater performance. This band from Windham is celebrating their twentieth year and over 400 performances. Their goal is to preserve and celebrate “the songs, tunes, history and spirit of the Antebellum and Civil War period.” This band is based off of the original 77th NY Regimental band that was formed in 1872 and was made up of military personal from Fulton, Essex and Saratoga Counties that fought in the U.S Civil War.
This radio play is produced by John Quinn, who is known for his projects that tell historic stories. Last year, Quinn directed the production of “Sunset at Mt. McGregor,” which depicted the friendship shared between U.S Grant and Mark Twain, and was performed in front of a packed, standing-room-only audience at the cottage.
Tickets to the live radio theater play are $15. For more information, please call 518-584-4353 or visit grantcottage.org.