SimonFest Theatre Co.
summer repertory company
SimonFest Event Details
SimonFest Theatre Co. Presents: Looking Over the President's Shoulder
Six Performances Only; Limited Seating Act Now
When Alonzo Fields accepted a job as a butler at the White House in 1931, his plan was to work there for the winter. That winter lasted 21 years. Based on the real-life story of the grandson of a freed slave who grew up in an all-black town in southern Indiana, Fields is forced by the Depression to give up his dreams of becoming an opera singer and accept the job at the White House where he quickly was appointed Chief Butler. Looking Over the President’s Shoulder is told from the unique perspective of the Chief Butler, Alonzo Fields, who served four U.S. presidents and their families: Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. Famous guests through the years included Winston Churchill, Marian Anderson, Errol Flynn and the king and queen of England. As Fields says in the play: “It was like being in the front row and watching the passing parade of history…”
Set on the eve of his last day on the job, Fields reflects on his 21 years of service to his country with humor and pride. He was a man with a story to tell and this tour-de-force piece hinges on one actor who gives Fields breathe once again and the chance to tell it, like it was.
Culled from Fields’ private papers, diaries and interviews, Looking Over the President’s Shoulder has played at major theaters across the country including the Indiana Repertory Theatre (where it premiered) and the famous Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
Starring Clarence Gilyard of stage and screen, Mr. Gilyard was a premiere student of the Actors Studio with starring roles in touring companies such as Driving Miss Daisy and television leads in Walker Texas Ranger, Matlock and films such as Die Hard. He currently directs (and acts) serving on several arts organizations across the country and is a professor of theater and film at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is an Associate Producer for CFAK this season and is sharing his youth Master Class with the Kayenta Arts Academy Students. We will soon engage Clarence in a weekly Master Class for Adults here at the Center.