Ford's Theatre Plans Round-the-Clock Event for 150th Anniversary of Lincoln Assassination Today and Tomorrow

News   Ford's Theatre Plans Round-the-Clock Event for 150th Anniversary of Lincoln Assassination Today and Tomorrow
The 150th anniversary of one of the darkest days in the history of theatre—President Abraham Lincoln's assassination at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865—will be marked April 14-15 with 24 hours of events at the playhouse, which still stands on 10th Street in Washington DC.

Lauren Beyea, associate director of communications outlined the round-the-clock activities collectively titled The Lincoln Tribute.

At 9 PM April 14 there will be a live performance of Now He Belongs to the Ages: A Lincoln Commemoration, featuring readings of Lincoln’s words and stories, Civil War-era music, excerpts from Lincoln’s favorite theatre and operas, and more. The event is already sold out, but will be live-streamed online at and at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Ford's Theatre and accompanying on-site museum will remain open to the public throughout the night so visitors can explore, watch a performance of the one-act play One Destiny; or take a guided tour (times vary).

Historic shot of Ford's Theatre
Historic shot of Ford's Theatre

Throughout the day and evening, actors in period costume will lead outdoor "History on Foot" walking tours of the neighborhood, recounting events leading up to the fateful moment during the performance of Our American Cousin when the president was gunned down by actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth.

On the street outside, throughout the day and night, historians performing in character will share first-person accounts about the end of the Civil War, the experience of being inside the theatre at the moment of the assassination, and medical reports from the Petersen House across the street where Lincoln was taken and later died. On the morning of April 15, Ford’s Theatre Society and the National Park Service will mark Lincoln’s death at 7:22 AM with a wreath-laying ceremony; church bells will toll across the city, just as they did in 1865. Tickets are required for all entry to the Ford’s Theatre campus (Museum, Theatre, Petersen House and Center for Education and Leadership) and History on Foot.

Among other planned events:

Ford's Theatre was built in 1833 as a church, and was remodeled as a theatre in 1861 by its namesake, John T. Ford. After the assassination it was prohibited by an act of Congress from being as a "place of public amusement" in perpetuity. However, Congress changed its mind in the 1950s and appropriated money for its restoration. It reopened as a performing arts center in 1968, and today in run by the National Park Service as a National Historic Site.

Ford's Theatre in the present day
Ford's Theatre in the present day
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