sealPurdue News

January 29, 2003

Actor brings Theodore Roosevelt to life in one-man show

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Actor Laurence Luckinbill will perform "Teddy Tonight!" his one-man play about the life of President Theodore Roosevelt, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Lafayette.

Admission is $24 for general public, $18 for Purdue students and children K-12. Tickets can be purchased at Purdue box offices or charged by phone at (765) 494-3933 or (800) 914-SHOW. "Teddy Tonight!" is presented by Purdue Convocations.

Luckinbill's script not only draws parallels to today's quandaries of a nation facing war but also looks at Roosevelt on a more personal level.

As the play begins, the time is July 1918. Now 60 years old, the former president is preparing to take the podium and publicly lambaste Woodrow Wilson for America's military unpreparedness. This is the Roosevelt of Rough Riders fame who has no patience for Wilson's pacifist viewpoint and isolationist policies.

Just then he receives word that his youngest son, Quentin, a pilot in the 95th American Aero Squadron, has been shot down behind enemy lines. Suddenly the consequences of war reach him at a very personal level. Anxiously awaiting news of his son's capture or death, this great American warrior, husband and father begins a speech which reassesses the tragedies and triumphs of his life in a deeply emotional way.

A character actor with a long list of credits, Luckinbill, a native of Fort Smith, Ark., served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps in the mid-1950s. He earned a master's degree in fine arts from Catholic University before moving to New York to study with Uta Hagen. He made his off-Broadway debut in 1959, playing the Old Shepherd in a Carnegie Playhouse production of "Oedipus Rex."

In 1963 he made his Broadway debut as Will Roper, the would-be son-in-law of Sir Thomas More, in "A Man For All Seasons." The list of his credits include many Broadway, touring theater, television and movie roles, including the messianic Vulcan Sybok in "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier," "The Boys in the Band" and "The Promise." Along with wife Lucie Arnaz, he has produced the Emmy-winning special "Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie" (1993).

CONTACT: Larry Sommers, Purdue Convocations, (765) 494-5045,

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: A publication-quality photograph of Laurence Luckinbill as Teddy Roosevelt is available at

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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