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Feb. 28, 2011

Contact Monsignor Bernard McGarty at 608-796-3788


LA CROSSE, Wis.— After exploring America’s political genius via a historical dramatic presentation that looks at a select group of U.S. founders, a live audience will help decide, Who is the Greatest American? Monday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Main Theatre.

The event is part of a series of lectures and interactive dialogues presented by Monsignor Bernard McCarty, Visiting Scholar of Ecumenical Studies at Viterbo University.

La Crosse area residents will perform in the roles of Benjamin and Deborah Franklin (Ken E. Brown and Teresa Halverson), John and Abigail Adams (Ted Skemp and Janet Pappenfuss), James and Dolly Madison (Brad Williams and Emily Vandenheuvel), George and Martha Washington (Rick Kyte and Jen Roberdeau). The role of widower Thomas Jefferson will be played by Jeff George.

While there will always be a debate regarding who belongs on a “great American founder” list, in organizing the event, Msgr. McGarty hopes to create an enjoyable evening for the audience and a renewed sense of appreciation for the skills and foresight that was required during America’s early formation.

“I think the audience will enjoy the living history, and that will inspire more curiosity and reading about these powerful historical figures. The presentation should be instructive for children and adults alike who love the history of our nation,” said Msgr. McGarty who wrote the script, is directing the performance, and who will play the role of stage manager.

“It is a privilege to renew the sacred events of the founding of our country as part of my lecture series at Viterbo,” Msgr. McGarty added.

At the conclusion, it will be up to the audience to decide the merits of the individuals and Msgr. McGarty indicated they will individually and collectively cast the ultimate ballots.     

“These individuals were tremendously persuasive and used their influence in many ways. The outcome should be very interesting,” he said.

The performance is free and open to the public. No reservations are required and all seating will be general admission.



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