Nine actors stand on a raised platform in a line. Six of them are dressed in ostentatious 18th-century clothing and wigs made of paper. The other three wear more casual clothing inspired by the 18th-century. Behind them are white arched frames, representing mansion windows and doors.
The company of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Jefferson’s Garden, directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Jefferson’s Garden

A Sweeping Drama Set during the American Revolution

date January 19, 2018 — February 8, 2019
duration 2 hours and 30 minutes including one intermission
rating Recommended for ages 15 or older
accessibility Accessible

Playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker explores the contradictions between our founding fathers’ ideals and the realities of freedom in America. Christian, a Quaker pacifist, defies his family to fight in the American Revolution. Susannah, an enslaved woman, is tempted to fight for the British when they promise her liberty. On their travels, Christian and Susannah cross paths with Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and Sally Hemings. These encounters force them to confront the compromises America makes after the promise of equality. Wertenbaker takes us from Revolutionary battlefields to Paris to Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. Nataki Garrett (Woolly Mammoth’s “An Octoroon”) directs this American premiere. Part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival.


Artistic Team

Writer Timberlake Wertenbaker
Director Nataki Garrett
Scenic Design Milagros Ponce de León
Costume Design Ivania Stack
Lighting Design Laura Mroczkowski
Original Music & Sound Design John Gromada
Hair and Make-Up Design Anne Nesmith
Dramaturg Jennifer L. Nelson
Dialects and Vocal Director Rachel Hirshorn-Johnston
Production Stage Manager Brandon Prendergast
Assistant Stage Manager Julia Singer
Casting Patrick Pearson

Cast

Headshot for actor Christopher Bloch.

Christopher Bloch

Daniel/Mason/Perrault

Headshot for Felicia Curry.

Felicia Curry

Susannah

Silhouette of a human head on black.

Michael Kevin Darnall

James

Silhouette of a human head on black.

Christopher Dinolfo

Christian

Silhouette of a human head on black.

Kimberly Gilbert

Martha/Nelly Rose

Silhouette of a human head on black.

Thomas Keegan

Harry/Madison

Silhouette of a human head on black.

Michael Halling

Jefferson/Carl Christian

Silhouette of a human head on black.

Kathryn Tkel

Sally/Betty

Silhouette of a human head on black.

Maggie Wilder

Louisa/Imogen/Patrick Henry

From the Gallery

A young free man sits at a bar table, a look of hope on his face. An older free man sits across from him, looking down into his beer glass. Behind them, an enslaved man stands with his hands folded. All wear 18th-century clothes.

Christopher Dinolfo as Christian and Michael Halling as Thomas Jefferson, with (background) Michael Kevin Darnall as James Hemings in the Ford’s Theatre production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

A young free man stands and gives an impassioned speech. A young enslaved woman looks at him with disbelief. Both wear 18th-century clothes.

Christopher Dinolfo as Christian and Felicia Curry as Susannah in the Ford’s Theatre production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

In a mansion parlor, an enslaved man and woman look with trepidation at a young free man. All wear 18th-century clothes.

Michael Kevin Darnall as James Hemings and Christopher Dinolfo as Christian with (background) Kathryn Tkel as Sally Hemings in the Ford’s Theatre production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

An enslaved man tells a story to his enslaved sister. Both wear 18th-century clothes.

Michael Kevin Darnall as James Hemings and Kathryn Tkel as Sally Hemings in the Ford’s Theatre production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

An enslaved man tells a story to his enslaved sister. Both wear 18th-century clothes.

Michael Kevin Darnall as James Hemings and Kathryn Tkel as Sally Hemings in the Ford’s Theatre production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Two women wear ostentatious 18th-century dresses and wigs made out of paper, while a young man stands next to them holding books and wearing plainer 18th-century clothing. They stand on a platform in front of a blue sky with clouds.

Kathryn Tkel as Betty, Kimberly Gilbert as Nelly Rose and Christopher Dinolfo as Christian in the Ford’s Theatre production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

An older free man stands at left with his hand out, blocking the passage of an enslaved man and woman. The older man wears an 18th-century coat and vest in brown with gold flowers, a white wig and casual contemporary pants. The other man wears an 18th-century white wig, a black coat, a gray vest with flowers and casual contemporary pants. The woman wears an 18th-century white wig, a bright pink dress with a blue floral design and casual contemporary pants. Both the clothes and wigs are made of paper. They stand in front of a larger-than-life projection of the words from the Declaration of Independence.

Michael Halling as Thomas Jefferson, Michael Kevin Darnall as James Hemings and Kathryn Tkel as Sally Hemings in the Ford’s Theatre production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Dressed in an ostentatious 18th-century coat made of paper, a young man looks angrily at two women. The first is his sister, who wears plain, gray Quaker-inspired clothing and a white bonnet; she looks plaintive. The second is his former lover, a woman who was previously enslaved. She wears plain, blue Quaker-inspired clothing and a bonnet.

Christopher Dinolfo as Christian, Maggie Wilder as Imogen and Felicia Curry as Susannah in the Ford’s Theatre production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

A man dressed in a plain tan linen coat looks mournfully at his former lover, a woman who was previously enslaved. He holds a letter. She wears an 18th-century-style purple dress with yellow flowers over casual contemporary blue capris.

Christopher Dinolfo as Christian and Felicia Curry as Susannah in the Ford’s Theatre production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

A man dressed in a plain tan linen coat pleased with his former lover, a woman who was previously enslaved. He holds a letter. She looks mournfully away from him. She wears an 18th-century-style purple dress with yellow flowers over casual contemporary blue capris.

Christopher Dinolfo as Christian and Felicia Curry as Susannah in the Ford’s Theatre production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Christopher Dinolfo as Christian and Michael Halling as Thomas Jefferson in the Ford’s Theatre production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

A young man sits at a bar table, a look of hope on his face. An older free man sits across from him.

At center is an actress dressed as Patrick Henry. She stands on a large crate. A crowd gathers around her to listen to her words. They stand in front of a larger-than-life projection of the words from the Declaration of Independence.

The company of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Nine actors stand on a raised platform in a line. Six of them are dressed in ostentatious 18th-century clothing and wigs made of paper. The other three wear more casual clothing inspired by the 18th-century. Behind them are white arched frames, representing mansion windows and doors.

The company of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

James Hemmings, an enslaved man, addresses Thomas Jefferson while Ben Franklin listens. Also listening are a young man, an enslaved servant and a man and woman dressed in ostentatious 18th-century-style clothing and wigs made of paper.

The company of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” directed by Nataki Garrett. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

"An ensemble-driven epic! Wertenbaker has woven a sizable tapestry, and it gains aura being framed at Ford’s. Fascination is partly due to Michael Halling’s subtle, intriguingly contradictory performance as Jefferson."
– The Washington Post
"Outstanding cast! Insightful and powerful! Packed with pearls of historical insight. Now is a perfect opportunity to catch a remarkable American premiere, part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, in the perfect historical setting at the Ford’s Theatre."
– DC Theatre Scene
"Intriguing! Fascinating! Felicia Curry plays the role [of Susannah] with great passion and determination. It is her character who best articulates what constitutes freedom."
– Broadway World
"A sweeping study of America’s battle for independence. It’s an exciting, provocative play … a stirring show about differing definitions of freedom and the nature of America."
– The Guardian
"A complex portrait of Thomas Jefferson and the men he both inspires and enslaves with his words."
– DC Metro Theatre Arts

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