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George Washington Reenacted by Gary Beard

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Many actors have taken on the role of Founding Father George Washington – including, Francis X. Bushman in 1927’s The Flag; Barry Bostwick in 1984 and ‘86 in George Washington and George Washington: The Forging of a Nation, respectively; Jeff Daniels in The Crossing (2000); Kelsey Grammer in Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor (2003); and, David Morse in 2008’s John Adams.

Each of the above mentioned performers holds a reputation as a skillful and faceted actor. But once they’re finished with the project they leave the persona of Washington behind as they move into other characterizations. Not so with Gary Beard, a retired clergyman who’s been portraying George Washington for nearly forty-years. Beard is a re-enactor. And Washington is the sole role in his repertoire. But he knows the character inside and out.

For two decades Beard has been honing his expertise on the general and statesman, who was six-foot-two inches in height (unusually tall for a man of the 18th century). Beard does this by journeying to Washington’s Mount Vernon home annually to research his subject, attending seminars on the first U.S. president, studying archives, and other historical records and artifacts.

So specific is Beard’s portrayal of Washington that he wears a military uniform, replicated by a specific tailor, with precisely seventy-six buttons on display in honor of the year the U.S. declared its independence.  So far he’s gone through three iterations of the outfit, which is accurately adorned from the star-filled epaulets to the shinning riding boots that so enhanced Washington’s naturally impressive presence.

It’s not just the replication of the Washington look that’s makes Beard’s presentation and Q & A’s worthwhile, however. Rather it’s the scholarship, research, and commitment to character that brings Beard’s Washington to life. We learn of the Founder’s love and devotion to family. Though Washington and his first First Lady, Martha, had no children between them, Washington did serve as father and patriarch to the children (and grandchildren) Martha had from a previous marriage.

We also learn that Washington was beloved by his soldiers and achieved his military skills while serving as a major under the command of British General Edward Braddock during the French-Indian War. But it was not from the King’s army that Washington earned his tactical and strategic wisdom. Rather, it was from the Indian tribes that fought alongside the both the English and French troops. The 21-year-old Washington was able to see that the British military approach, with drums beating and soldiers in straight-lines and dressed in red uniforms, was no contest to the tribes who engaged in guerrilla-like military maneuvers. Regardless of the toll it was taking, General Braddock chose to stick with standard military tradition and would not adhere to young Washington’s advice. During the Revolutionary War Washington would incorporate the lessons he’d learned from the Native Americans to defeat the British and establish independence for the American Colonies.

For the last seventeen years Gary Beard has been doing annual presentations at the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace, in Yorba Linda, California. Moreover, the 79-year-old re-enactor performs as Washington regularly for schools and at various occasions throughout the year. Beard is not only a scholar on all things Washington; he is also a lively and charismatic performer.

To book Gary Beard for an appearance, call (714) 544-6635. To contact Beard through email, use This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For further information, visit



Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”


Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.