Hodges Center to host free play on the life of Mary Todd Lincoln

The Frances Pew Hayes Center for Lifelong Learning at Hodges University will host a free play on the life of Mary Todd Lincoln. The production will be performed at the Moorings Park Learning Center, just south of Pine Ridge Road, off of Goodlette-Frank Road, in Naples, on Wednesday, June 23 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am.

This one-woman play, written and performed by Janina Birtolo, centers on the life of Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln, who challenged 19th century views of how a female ought to behave. As the wife of one of the best known and loved Presidents in American history, Mary was thrust into the spotlight – a position that suited her view of herself. Yet her view was not shared by many of her contemporaries.  Her Kentucky background and her family’s support of the Confederacy made her loyalties suspect to many – but an even harsher opinion developed in her years as Lincoln’s widow.

Through her extensive research, Birtolo has crafted an all too human story that highlights Mary’s achievements and stumbles – and serves as a cautionary tale about judgments based on pre-conceived notions.  This story provides a lesson in history, humanity and the hard road traveled by those seen as different.

Janina Birtolo earned a BA in English at Boston College and an MS in television broadcasting at Boston University. Janina has worked as a freelance writer for local newspapers for more than 20 years.  Ms. Birtolo’s writings are regularly published nationally and in such local publications as N Magazine, The Phil, Gulfshore Life, Times of the Islands and Naples Illustrated.  In 2001 she was chosen "Writer of the Year" by the Florida Magazine Association.  Janina is also a field producer for Arts Edition Prime Time, an art magazine show produced by WGCU-TV.  Ms. Birtolo’s one-woman shows have become her current focus.  An avid reader and a history buff, she hopes to use the lives of historical women to educate and inspire others and to tell captivating stories of courage and dedication.

The play is free of charge but reservations are required. To reserve a seat, please contact Christine Wheeler at (239) 598-6133.

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