Churchill Brings History to Life at New World Stages

Churchill Brings History to Life at New World Stages

Churchill is the theatrical equivalent of sneaking spinach into brownie batter. This play is entertaining, but when you’re walking out of Stage 5 at New World Stages, you find you actually learned a lot of historical facts on top of witnessing a truly special piece of theater.

Adapted and performed by Ronald Keaton, Churchill brings audiences stories of the life and times of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill straight from the man himself. Alone on stage for the entirety of the play, Keaton assumes Churchill’s commanding presence and delights listeners with tales of his historic successes and personal shortcomings, as well as his historic failures and personal triumphs. He is as flawed a man as any, but also happens to be one of the most influential British politicians of the 20th Century. Going into the play, I knew Churchill was a great orator and notable figurehead during both Word War I and World War II. I didn’t realize he also was a skilled oil painter and made rude jokes about chicken. There is definitely more to Winston Churchill than what we’re taught in history classes, and this play was a charming way to get to know this man a little better.
What I love most about Churchill is that it is like watching someone else’s grandpa knock back a drink or two and get really into telling you about the good old days. I’m a child of baby boomers, so this play very much reminded me of when my dad’s dad or my mom’s grandfather would reminisce about people I would never have the privilege of meeting. But getting to hear their stories from someone who genuinely enjoyed telling them… well that was always the next best thing. The same very much goes for Churchill. The real Winston Churchill died in 1965, but this play is a fantastic way to learn about him from “him;” as if he was the one actually entertaining you at his home. It all felt welcoming and familiar - much more like a post-dessert chat than a school lecture.

I should admit that I was the nerdy kid who read historical non-fiction in her free time in high school and took a class entirely about World War I for “fun” in college. Churchill was definitely right up my alley, but I also see it being geared toward a more mature audience that has closer ties to the content.

Churchill humanizes Winston Churchill in a way that history books cannot and Keaton completely owns that stage, giving audiences a rare glimpse into the private life of a very public figure. This play ends its run on July 12th. Don’t miss your chance to see history repeat itself in a most enjoyable fashion at New World Stages.

Photo Credit: Jason Epperson


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