By: Pat Reeder | Category: Special Interest | Issue: July 2011
Laurette Willis will perform her one-woman show, Letters From the Heart: Betty and Will Rogers, Friday evenings at Will Rogers Memorial Museum.
“Letters From the Heart: Betty and Will Rogers” brings to life for the first time the delightful early 1900s courtship correspondence of Will Rogers and his wife Betty with humor, song, vintage photos and newsreels.
A one-woman, multi-media show written and performed by acclaimed New York actress Laurette Willis, Letters from the Heart had a successful opening at Will Rogers Memorial Museum Theatre in April. Back by popular demand, summer performances are scheduled on Friday evenings, July 8, 15, 22 and 29 and August 5 at 7 p.m.
The live stage production chronicles the perspective of Betty Blake Rogers and interprets Will Rogers in the context of life in the early twentieth century. The show includes time-appropriate photos, newsreels, music and film footage. You’ll gain insight into the lives of Betty and Will, their courtship and marriage, his multi-faceted life as an entertainer and communicator, his political satire, his untimely death, and his legacy.
Will Rogers was a prolific letter writer. To create the show, Laurette Willis utilized Will’s letters to Betty, primarily from their courtship period from 1900 to 1908. Will and Betty Blake met at the Oologah train station, where she was helping her sister and brother-in-law, and much of their friendship and courtship was through these letters. After nearly a decade, they were married in Rogers, Arkansas, on November 25, 1908. The play covers the period from their first meeting through Will’s Wild West Shows, his trek around the world, and his hits on the Vaudeville circuit. Find out how the “Cherokee Cowboy” wooed and won the belle from Arkansas in Letters from the Heart.
“As always,” says Willis, “there will be lots of audience interaction with fun for the whole family.”
Claremore is an exceptional location for a day out to the museum, dinner and a highly entertaining theatre show. Tickets for the show are $10 and are available in the Will Rogers Museum store or by calling (918) 343-8115 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. any day of the week.
War veterans and active duty military personnel will be honored July 8 and given free admission with a paid ticket. As part of a Blue Star Museums program, they will also be given a 10 percent discount in the Museum store anytime between May 23 and Labor Day. Veterans and active duty military are asked to identify themselves when they reserve a ticket so they can be properly identified and honored at the July 8th performance.
Laurette Willis is truly a one-woman wonder; she is an actor, playwright, director, improv comedienne, off-Broadway entertainer, motivational speaker, author, storyteller, ventriloquist, fitness DVD and television producer, educator and workshop facilitator. For over 25 years, she has been invited to entertain and speak to groups as diverse as the U.S. Armed Forces in Asia with the U.S.O. and over 500,000 students in schools and universities. Laurette is known for bringing history to life in over 20 original one-woman shows and ensemble productions for a variety of community and historical organizations since the early 1990s. She and her husband Paul live on a 40-acre ranch in the beautiful Ozark foothills of northeastern Oklahoma.