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About the Play

A little historical background: Did you know...

* At the time of his arranging The New Deal, Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) regarded volatile Louisiana Governor Huey Long as "one of the two most dangerous men in America." Long promoted a "Share the Wealth" campaign that would theoretically use huge taxes to distribute rich individuals' fortunes evenly throughout the population.

* FDR had a long-term, illicit affair with a woman named Lucy Mercer. FDR's wife Eleanor found out about the affair in 1918, at which time FDR promised Eleanor that he would end it. But, by most accounts, if the affair ever ended, it was hastily resumed and lasted until FDR's death in 1945.

From such historical facts come an hysterical fiction. The President's Double "re-writes" history by having FDR arrange a meeting with Huey Long to try and tame Long's threat to FDR's 1936 election campaign. But thanks to Lucy and a wayward storm, the FDR-Long meeting takes place far away from any reporters or a shack in a Bayou swamp.

Playwright Tom Hickman has long enjoyed playing with history. His play The Guv'nor playfully observes Alabama Gov. George Wallace on Election Night. And Hickman's play Forrest allows the play's audience to attend a mock-trial of Confederate Governor Nathan Bedford Forrest and vote on his guilt or innocence.

The President's Double was previously performed in 2001 at Orange Park Community Theatre, but only as a "reader's theater," where actors sat on stage and verbally acted out the script. The play's production at Neptune Beach Senior Activity Center will allow history to come alive...and get turned slightly askew.


Article about Huey Long and his threat to FDR
New York Times article about Lucy Mercer

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