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Lonn as Lincoln

A Life as Lincoln

 

Lonn Pressnall portrays Abraham Lincoln with respect and appreciation for Lincoln's dignity and humor.  Lonn brings Lincoln's love of theatre, his fascination with technology, transportation, and the law to life!

 

A Lincoln presenter, actor, look-a-like, impersonator is often asked:  "How did you get  started doing Abraham Lincoln?"  The answer to that is not always as easy as one might think. Unlike many of my fellow "brothers of the brush," I never had a lot of folks say to me:  "Wow, you look a lot like Lincoln" until after I had shaved my mustache and donned the stove pipe hat. I had done the Farewell to Springfield speech in The World of Carl Sandburg as an undergrad at Peru State College in Nebraska and dutifully read The Prairie Years by Sandburg and tried to read The War Years and gave up.  I had to learn the Gettysburg Address in grade school in Wymore , Nebraska and admired it ever since.  A dear friend of mine, Robert Ingram Jr. who was a gifted actor and singer had recruited me to act in some of his work. He had toured and performed a show based on Paul Robeson's life and needed me as the White senator on the HUAC committee.  He also had some Frederick Douglass material in his arsenal.

In 2002 I was inspired to write a show for us demonstrating the special relationship that developed between Lincoln and Frederick Douglass which is relatively little known by many.  My play theatrical program entitled The Last Best Hope was the result of my collaboration with Bob Ingram and subsequently launched me into the wide world of Abraham Lincoln.  Following exhaustive new research into both great men's lives, I discovered that Lincoln was well-versed in Shakespeare and many poets especially Scottish, British, and American.  Having also fallen under the charm of Shakespeare, I was now sold on all things Lincoln.

Lonn Pressnall portraying Lincoln at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska

Lonn Pressnall portraying Lincoln at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska

In 2005, I was invited to a program of Lincoln's love of literature at the grand opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library. During the week of celebration I did my A. Lincoln:  A Touch of the Poet in the ALPL atrium and also participated in many other activities.   After retiring from forty years of teaching, I was then able to travel and present Mr. Lincoln in a wide range of venues and at various events:  Schools, banquets, fairs, car shows, Corporate conventions, radio shows, parades, speeches, and a variety of "meet and greets".

 

2009, the Lincoln Bicentennial Year was Hells-a-poppin'.  The next few years jobs took me to California, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin and Alaska.  For a more detail please refer to www.Lincolnpresenter.com.  Also in 2009, I along with two other Lincoln presenters were featured in a documentary entitled: Life as Lincoln produced by Split Pillow Productions of Chicago.  It opened on Lincoln's birthday at Chicago's Gene Siskel Movie Theatre. 

As a lifetime member of the Association of Lincoln Presenters, I met many other folks who enjoy the channeling of our 16th President, the great man, the complex and fascinating Abraham Lincoln.  Too many books to read, too many conflicting interpretations, too many strong often unfounded opinions make for a very difficult, humbling, and daunting task: trying to present Abraham Lincoln with dignity, vitality, integrity, proper delineation and much needed sense of humor. I know how I got started , but I'm not sure how to gracefully cease presenting.