Chautauqua Opens the Curtain on CSM’s Twilight Performances

The College of Southern Maryland presents a family friendly Twilight Performance Series during July at the La Plata

Series Begins at La Plata Campus July 5, 6, 7

As part of the fifth anniversary of the Twilight Performance Series the College of Southern Maryland will open the series with Chautauqua at the La Plata Campus July 5, 6 and 7. The Maryland Humanities Council will present the annual Chautauqua program this year in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Chautauqua is an educational program of the Maryland Humanities Council, presented in partnership with CSM and includes opening musical acts at 6:45 p.m., followed by performances from Chautauquan actors who portray historical figures. This year will feature President of the United States of America Abraham Lincoln; African American abolitionist, humanitarian and Union spy, Harriet Tubman; and President of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis.

Lincoln will be played by Jim Getty who has spent years researching the 16th president and his contemporaries to develop several first-person presentations. His performances have been for audiences including the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, Corcoran Gallery, National Archives-Chicago Branch and the Reagan Presidential Library.

Getty’s voice is that of Abraham Lincoln in two A&E programs and he recently recorded both the Gettysburg Address and The Second Inaugural Address for the new cell phone tour of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Getty resides in Gettysburg, Penn. and holds a master of music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Tubman will be played by Gwendolyn Briley-Strand, who has performed on stage, television and in movie theaters for more than 20 years. She is known for her portrayals of Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks, and has appeared at the White House, the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center as well as at museums, schools and cultural organizations. A member of the Maryland Humanities Council Speakers Bureau, she received her bachelor of art degree in theater from Fordham University.

Davis will be played by Doug Mishler, an independent scholar who has taught at the University of Nevada and Western Washington University. He is the author of a history of the Ringling Brothers Circus and has consulted on several public television and Chautauqua programs. Since 1995, Mishler has appeared at the Maryland Chautauqua as P.T. Barnum, Theodore Roosevelt, William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Ford, Upton Sinclair and George Wallace. He also portrays Ernie Pyle, Billy Sunday, William Clark, Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Jackson, Edward R. Murrow and Thomas Hart Benton. Mishler has a Ph.D. in American cultural history from the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Twilight Performance Series is held on the lawn adjacent to the James C. Mitchell Center for Health Technology on the La Plata CampusIn the event of inclement weather, performances will move indoors to the Fine Arts Center.

In its fifth season the Twilight Performance Series is a free, family-friendly evening of entertainment held on each campus. Current support for the series is being made available through a partnership with the Maryland Humanities Council and is made possible in part by a grant from the Charles County Arts Alliance, Arts Council of Calvert County, St. Mary’s Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council. Sponsorships include contributions from Bayside Toyota; Comcast Bay Shore Group; Computer Science Corporation; Murray, Wamsley and Schrader, LLC; Wildes-Spirit Design and Printing and Research and Engineering Development, LLC.

Food and beverages will be available to purchase from Chick-fil-a. For menu and pricing visit

For information on the Twilight Performance Series call 301-934-7703 or visit

Chautauqua is a program of the Maryland Humanities Council presented in partnership with College of Southern Maryland. The Maryland Humanities Council, Inc. is an independent non-profit organization which receives support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Maryland Division of Historical and Cultural Programs, corporations, foundations and individuals.