Twain-Roosevelt Scholars Assemble At The Fayette Opera House

The story of how the American writer Samuel Clements (Mark Twain) and President Theodore Roosevelt brought a twenty-first century Presidential Scholar, a nationally syndicated illustrator and an university scholar/collector together to produce a play that places these two personalities on stage for an “imagined” debate, is the topic of a panel discussion to be held at the Fayette Opera House this coming Friday, April 4th. The doors will open at 6:00 p.m. with the discussion beginning at 7:00 p.m.

The Panel discussion features the play’s creator, Dr. Jan Younger, its illustrator, Polly Keener, and Collector & Department Chair, Dr. Doug Collar (Heidelberg Univ.) in a conversation about the life and times of both of these American icons.

The program is the introduction to a three performance production of the play “As Different as a Frog and a Grizzly” to be held on Thursday May 1st, 2014 (a 1:00 p.m. Law Day special event), Friday, May 2nd at 7:00 p.m. and again on Sunday, May 4th for a 3:00 p.m. matinee production.

The panel, as well as the play, is a part of the newly inaugurated Steinem-Nyce Series. The series is designed to stimulate “Civil Conversations” that lead to “Civic Engagement” at the local level.

Series collaborators, the Bean Creek Valley History Center, and the Fayette Arts Council, noted that in an age that has experienced increased polarization, it is important to recognize that different perspectives and opinions are a part of our local and national tradition.

“Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt certainly did not share the same view on every issue, but their collective influence on defining the American character is profound” said Opera House Director, Tom Spiess.

Producers stated that the Steinem-Nyce Series is not simply about panels and performances; it is about the discussions and conversations that follow those events. “We want people to reopen conversations about issues that impact our daily lives” said Spiess. “Over the years, our post concert receptions and conversations have become a trademark of our programming efforts” he continued. “We want to build on that tradition”.
Following the hour long panel discussion, the audience will be encouraged to ask questions of all panel members.

In addition there will be a special exhibition of the works of illustrator, Polly Keener in the University Gallery of the Opera House.

The panel event is free and open to the public. A free will donation will be collected with all proceeds directed to the support of the Steinem-Nyce Series and education outreach programs.

As always, a reception will follow the panel discussion.
For ticket information, call (419) 237-3111 and leave your ticket request. For additional information check out our web site at


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