Posted by South Dakota Public Broadcasting

2pm – Free guided tour of presidents statues in downtown Rapid City for first 25 callers. For reservations, call 800-456-0766.

6pm – Free reception with light refreshments at the Rapid City Performing Arts Center.

7pm – Film screening and presentation by “Theodore Roosevelt” featuring national humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson.

   Teddy Roosevelt is stopping by Rapid City. Join the fun.

   Clay Jenkinson, nationally known humanities scholar, will take on the role at 7pm Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Rapid City Performing Arts Center. The presentation is free.

   His presentation will follow a 6pm reception featuring refreshments and hors d’oeuvres and a short preview screening of a new series – The Roosevelts – by acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns. The seven-part PBS special series airs Sept. 14-20 on SDPB1 Television.

   Earlier on Sept. 6, at 2pm, you’ll have a chance to learn more about history with a free guided walking tour past some of the presidential statues in downtown Rapid City, including the statues of both Roosevelts. We’ll meet at the corner of 5th and St. Joseph, by the Dwight D. Eisenhower statue, for an hour or so of presidential trivia with guide Holly Kennedy. The tour is limited to 25 participants. For reservations, call 800-456-0766.

   There’s some magic in the air when President Theodore Roosevelt comes to life.

   “Theodore Roosevelt is just as entertaining of a guy as anyone you would meet,” says Jenkinson, “Everything is over the top and it’s just exhausting to be him for even an hour or two!”

   Jenkinson, one of the top humanities scholars in the nation, and consultant for famed filmmaker Ken Burns, brings Teddy Roosevelt to the stage. His goal is to give the audience a taste of what it would have been like to be in the presence of someone from the past.

   The North Dakota  man has a close connection to the 26th President of the United States. Jenkinson is a history professor at Dickinson State University and the Chief Consultant for the Theodore Roosevelt Center at the school, not far from Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the lands where Roosevelt was a cowboy and rancher.

   Growing up, Jenkinson had no experience in performing. But in 1987, he was asked to portray Thomas Jefferson, and his career with impersonations began. After thousands of shows, Jenkinson is an expert on more than a dozen historical figures.

   Mastering someone else’s life isn’t an easy process. It involves reading biographies, memorizing monologues and tracking down any other research material he can get his hands on.

   “I’m a speaking encyclopedia of that person’s life,” says Jenkinson. He has performed all over the world, in venues as prestigious as the White House and as ordinary as kindergartens.

   Roosevelt was born in New York, but headed west to Dakota Territory in 1884. He invested in two ranches and developed a great love for the badlands and frontier of North Dakota. His life in the Wild West was colorful – arresting thieves, stopping stampedes, and even punching out a gunslinger in a bar. Roosevelt developed the skills that led to the formation of the Rough Riders, fame in battle and election as Governor of New York and then as Vice President. He became President when William McKinley was assassinated in 1901.

   Jenkinson has been called upon by PBS documentary filmmaker Ken Burns to be an expert in three of his productions. He has taken part in documentaries on Thomas Jefferson, the National Parks, and the most recent film, The Roosevelts An Intimate History.

   “I don’t try to do a one man show, because I think that that’s a mistake,” says Jenkinson, “What I want to do is address the audience as if they were in front of the character.”

   Not only will Jenkinson perform a monologue, but the audience also has the opportunity for a Q&A with Jenkinson as himself and in character as President Theodore Roosevelt.


   SDPB’s activities promoting The Roosevelts are supported by a grant from WETA. Funding is provided by Bank of America; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Public Broadcasting Service; Mr. Jack C. Taylor; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; National Endowment for the Humanities; Rosalind P. Walter and members of The Better Angels Society, including Jessica & John Fullerton; The Pfeil Foundation; Joan Wellhouse Newton; Bonnie & Tom McCloskey; and The Golkin Family.


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