The 2018 Shows

All performances take place at the Historic Hanover Courthouse, 13182 Hanover Courthouse Road, Hanover, Virginia 23069.  


Each performance runs about 45 minutes.

Performances are free and open to the public.

Donations are, however, gladly accepted.

Tickets will be distributed on the date of the show on a first-come, first-served basis.  The number of tickets distributed will be limited to the legal capacity of the courthouse.

We ask that patrons do not save seats in the courtroom.


James Monroe

The fifth President of the United States discusses his 50 years of public service. Monroe fought and was wounded in the Revolutionary War, served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and, a United States senator, governor of Virginia, minister to France and Great Britain, and Secretary of War and State. As president, he established the Monroe Doctrine, acquired Florida, and dealt with the contentious issue of slavery in new states joining the Union with the 1820 Missouri Compromise.

Presenter:  Dennis Bigelow is the Monroe interpreter at Ash Lawn – Highland, Monroe’s home. He also performs as and/or teaches about Monroe at the Federal Executive Institute, UVA’s Osher Lifelong Learning Center and the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

Performances on June 23 (9:30 and 11:00 a.m.)



The Marquis de Lafayette, born into a wealthy French family, was commissioned an officer at the age of 13. He became convinced that the American cause in its Revolutionary War was noble, and he traveled to the New World seeking glory. Named a Major General in the Continental Army at the age of 19, he quickly became a confidant of George Washington.

Presenter:  Charles Wissinger is a well-known local actor.  In addition to performing in Liberty or Death at St. John’s Church, Charles has made many appearances during the summer series of The Parsons’ Cause Foundation, portraying Lafayette, Edgar Allan Poe, James Madison, and Benjamin Stringfellow.

Performances on June 30 (9:30 and 11:00 a.m.)


Alexander Hamilton

Hamilton immigrated to America and rose to greatness. He was a trusted advisor to George Washington during the Revolutionary War, a framer of the Constitution, an author of many of the Federalist Papers, the first Secretary of the Treasury, and the founder of the national bank.

Presenter:  Ian Rose has been portraying Hamilton for over ten years.  He has appeared as Hamilton in films and at the State Department, the National Archives, the Nixon Presidential Library, the Newseum, and the National Constitutional Center.

Performances on July 7 (9:30 and 11:00 a.m.)


Meriwether Lewis

President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Captain Meriwether and William Clark to explore the recently acquired Louisiana Purchase. Hear Lewis recount their experiences of the two year expedition which reached the Pacific Ocean, gathered information on Native Americans, and collected many animal and plant species.

Presenter:  Dick Cheatham.  Dick is a leadership consultant, educator, professional speaker and historian.  In addition to John Rolfe, Dick portrays many other notable historic figures.  He has appeared on BBC, PBS and The Learning Channel.  His speakers’ bureau, Living History Associates, has had the contract with the National Park Service at Jamestown to tell America’s founding story for over twenty years.

Performances on July 14 (9:30 and 11:00 a.m.)


Gowan Pamphlet

Born into colonial American slavery, Gowan Pamphlet became an ordained Baptist minister and helped start a church for African Americans, today's First Baptist Church of Williamsburg. 

Presenter:  James Ingram is a modern-day ordained Baptist minister who has performed as Pamphlet for many years at Colonial Williamsburg and elsewhere.

Performances on July 21 (9:30 and 11:00 a.m.)


Thomas Jefferson

The author of the Declaration of Independence, the architect of the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom, and the founder of the University of Virginia discusses politics, elections and his time as the third President. 

Presenter:  Bill Barker.  Bill has been interpreting Mr. Jefferson since 1984 and has portrayed him at Colonial Williamsburg since 1993.  Bill has appeared as Mr. Jefferson at the White House and the Palace of Versailles.  He has also portrayed Mr. Jefferson on programs on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, The History Channel and C-SPAN.

Performances on July 28 (9:30 and 11:00 a.m.)


John Adams

John Adams was a Founding Father, statesman, and our country’s first Vice-President and Second President.  Hear him discuss the founding of the country, his various roles in the newly-formed government, and his views on the politics of the day.

Presenter:  Steven Holloway has been in theater since 1979. He has appeared in more than 16 eighteenth-century plays. He has also portrayed Adams in numerous films and public appearances.

Performances on August 4 (9:30 and 11:00 a.m.)


Patrick Henry

Hanover County’s most famous citizen was an attorney, planter and orator. His cry of “Liberty or Death” became a rallying cry for American troops during the Revolutionary War and earned Henry the moniker of “The Voice of the Revolution.” Hear Henry speak on his upbringing in Hanover, the importance of The Parsons’ Cause, and his plea for a militia to defend Virginia at the Second Virginia Convention.

Presenter:  John Tucker is an attorney, a Catholic deacon, and a Hanover County resident. He has portrayed Patrick Henry and other characters at St. John’s Church for over 16 years. He has also portrayed Henry at numerous other venues in Virginia.

Performances on August 11 (9:30 and 11:00 a.m.)


Martha Washington

Born Martha Dandridge, the future first lady was married to Daniel Parke Custis, with whom she had four children, before being widowed at the age of 25. Two years later she married George Washington.  Hear her tales of her personal life, the Revolutionary War, life at Mount Vernon, and the challenges of being the first lady.

Presenter:  Debbie Phillips.  Debbie is a well-known local actress and historical guide.  She has previously portrayed Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton, Eliza Poe, Captain Sally Tompkins and Patsey Henry Fontaine for previous summer sessions of The Parsons’ Cause Foundation.

Performances on August 18 (9:30 and 11:00 a.m.)


The Parsons’ Cause – Prelude to Revolution

On December 1, 1763, a country lawyer from Hanover stepped from obscurity into the forefront of legal and political circles in Virginia. His name was Patrick Henry. The event that shaped his destiny was the trial of The Parsons’ Cause. Henry challenged the two most potent entities of colonial Virginia—the King and the clergy. The case proved to be one of the opening salvos of the revolution, and started Henry on the path of becoming the “Voice of the Revolution.”

Performance on August 25 (11:00 a.m.)