The Pike County Historical Society, in cooperation with Harmony Presents, will bring the award-winning stage production “For the Benefit of Miss Jennie Gourlay” to the Hawley Silk Milll on Friday, Dec. 20.
Broadway actor and costumer, Billy Hipkins, stars in the one-man production that takes a fresh look at the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. It focuses on the life of Jennie Gourlay, an actress poised to star at Ford’s Theatre before John Wilkes Booth killed the President; and with him, Gourlay’s dreams of stardom.
At the time, Jennie Gourlay was an actress in the production of the play Our American Cousin, which was being performed the night of President Lincoln’s assassination. Waiting in the wings when the assassination occurred, she was shoved to the ground when Booth hurried past her in his escape from the theatre. She knew Booth, as did the entire cast, and was forever saddened and perplexed by his actions that fateful night.
Gourlay eventually married and moved to Milford, where she lived until her death in1928.
She held in her possession an American flag said to have briefly cushioned the dying Presidents head while he lay on the floor of the Presidential Box. The flag, known as The Lincoln Flag, is now in the possession of the Pike County Historical Society and displayed in their museum.
Also in the Gourlay Collection in the Columns Museum are three stage costumes belonging to the actress, one in particular which was to be worn the night of Lincoln’s assassination.
Doors for the show open at 7:15 p.m. and the production begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 by visitingwww.PikeHistorical.org/events.