May 27, 2011

Play about Will Rogers's courtship

Play focuses on Betty and Will Rogers’ courtshipLaurette Willis, actor, playwright, composer and producer, has written and will perform “Letters from the Heart: Betty and Will Rogers,” a one-woman multi-media show using Will’s letters to Betty Blake, primarily from their courtship period 1900-08.And:The play covers the period from their first meeting through Will’s Wild West Shows, his trek around the world and his hits on the Vaudeville circuit.

Original songs by Willis will be enhanced by videos of vintage photos, newsreel footage, movies and rope tricks from “Ropin’ Fool,” produced by Cherokee cowboy Will Rogers. Willis said Rogers’ words evolve in song and words. Will’s letters will be read in his own voice (Will Rogers Museum Will Rogers interpreter Andy Hogan).

Will Rogers was a prolific letter writer and wrote letters to his father, sisters and especially to Betty, who became Mrs. Will Rogers. Will and Betty met at the Oologah (his birthplace) train station where she was helping her sister and brother-in-law. Much of their friendship and courtship was through letters. After nearly a decade, they were married in Rogers, Ark., on Nov. 25, 1908.
Comment:  For more on Will Rogers, see Will Rogers = Jon Stewart and Will Rogers State Park.

Below:  "Laurette Willis, of Tahlequah, Okla., performs during the production of Letters from the Heart: Betty and Will Rogers. The play is a one-woman show written by Willis who is a playwright, composer and producer."

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