The Penultimate TR

I had a double treat weekend last Sunday: seeing my high school buddy, Jenny Wiegand and getting to see her tremendously talented hubby, Joe Wiegand, perform his one-man Theodore Roosevelt show in honor of TR’s 150th birthday.

Jenny Wiegand, Joe Wiegand (as TR) and Yours Truly under a Watchful Eye.
Jenny Wiegand, Joe Wiegand (as TR) and Yours Truly under a Watchful Eye.

Many of us remember the Rough Rider in the context of Cuba and San Juan Hill and the Dakotas but TR was a native New Yorker and his birthplace is in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan at 28 East 20th Street. Sunday’s festivities, a block party, pony rides, and Rough Rider reenactments culminating in Joe’s masterful one-man show, were held at the TR birthplace, an elegant 1920’s brownstone reconstruction of the actual birthplace, sadly razed in the service of so-called progress.

Joe’s roughly 1.5 hour show was to quote TR, “tremendous” and “bully fun.” The three of us had planned to go to dinner afterwards but wouldn’t you know it, the Wiegands got a better offer.

Dash it, but representatives of that rascally George W called.

It seems the White House had a hankering to celebrate TR’s birthday as well and who better than Joe Wiegand, the penultimate Theodore Roosevelt, to lead the charge? I was disappointed, of course. Still, if one must be stood up, how many of us can say we were jilted in favor of yes, the Leader of the Free World?

I could say more and you know me, it wouldn’t take much. Still, the clip: Joe Wiegand as T.R. at the White House says it all and then some. (FYI, he comes in at about minute 14 after First Lady Laura Bush).

Enjoy–and remember, it’s good to know some history because invariably it repeats.


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