Neill Hartley is Joshua Lionel Cowen in this exciting and magical one–man show about the founding and history of one of the greatest toy companies ever created! A fully-staged presentation that will entertain and educate audiences of all ages. See young Joshua Lionel Cowen as he begins building “electrical novelties.” Then follow his climb to the top of the toy industry as he creates Lionel Toy Trains, one of the most beloved and successful toy companies of all time.
A busy Actor, Director, Spokesperson and Teacher, Neill Hartley earned a Master of Fine Arts from Temple University in Acting. A faculty member of Temple University from 1989-2000 and since 2005 teaching Acting; and on the faculty of the University of the Arts since 1994 teaching Speech & Voice, Neill is also much in demand as a speech and dialect coach for several professional theaters. A much sought-after actor, performing with companies that include the Arden Theater, InterAct Theatre, and the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, the multi-talented Mr. Hartley won a Barrymore Award for Ensemble for 1812 Productions’ Batboy, The Musical. Besides teaching, coaching and acting, Neill is a busy director for theaters that include Philadelphia Young Playwrights, University of the Arts, University of Pennsylvania, Arcadia University, Isis Productions, the Brick Theater and the Luna Theater. Serving as Artistic Director for Acting Without Boundaries, a theater company providing large-scale musical opportunities for physically-disabled teens and young adults, Neill does commercials, has roles in feature films and has enjoyed a longstanding commitment as the spokesperson for Spray-N-Grow, a national organic gardening products company.
The AFTRA/SAG/CORE theater professional joined the American Historical Theatre in 2000 with his one-person shows, Neill credits his voice and movement training from Temple University for his fluid “morphing” from one easily identifiable character to another. His programs have been tremendously popular at theaters and venues that include (what’s now) the Tweeter Center, Academy of Music, Act II Playhouse, Walnut Street Theater Studio 3, Congress Hall, Smithsonian Institution, and the American Glider Council, as well as just about every library and civic group in New Jersey for his Ichabod Crane program each October.
Author and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or as he is better known, Mark Twain used his home town of Hannibal, Missouri as the backdrop for his two most notable works: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (which has often been referred to as the Great American Novel). He tried a number of other career options before discovering his true vocation. He was an apprentice printer, a typesetter, a riverboat pilot, a gold miner, inventor, and finally a journalist. He was a Jack of all trades, who could never master his finances, though he always made sure his debts were eventually paid, but when it came to writing he certainly excelled. He became well known for his works, was acclaimed by his peers, and counted presidents and industrialist and other notables amongst his friends.
Bob Gleason was trained in Theater by performing in 60+ productions at West Chester University, where he became almost a “cult figure.” Mr. Gleason’s acting was further enriched by his service as a Psychiatric Aide at Norristown State Hospital. A member of the Army’s Special Services Chorus, Mr. Gleason shared his four-octave vocal talents as a goodwill ambassador touring the US and Germany. Joining the American Historical Theatre as James Wilson in 1991, the Bicentennial for the Bill of Rights. Mr. Gleason had been portraying this Founding Father for the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge since 1985. But Gleason terms his meeting with AHT’s William and Pamela Sommerfield as a turning point in his personal and professional life. In-depth historical research and audience interactivity have become hallmarks of Mr. Gleason’s historical portrayals.
Since 1991, Bob Gleason has been AHT’s “go to guy” - If you need it, Bob can do it! Over the years, Mr. Gleason has been featured at the White House Visitor’s Center, Ford’s Theatre, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, Constitution Hall, the National Constitution Center, Independence Hall, Mask & Wig, Elder Hostels, Bartram’s Garden, Betsy Ross’ House, the General Warren Inn, and the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge. Bob has been especially popular at schools, museums, historic sites and libraries throughout the United States. He’s now performing for the children of children he previously educated and entertained.
Kim Hanley is a fine actor, singer, costumer and dancer. She trained and danced from an early age with the School of American Ballet and the Eglevsky Ballet in New York, as well as with the visiting Bolshoi Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet. She credits her dance background and in-depth high school acting courses, including daily vocal labs and onstage work, for her ability to rise to any occasion when performing. In addition to her dance background, Ms. Hanley is an accomplished costumer whose specialty is historical fashion
Kim began interpreting Abigail with AHT from 1997 and now has added Abigail Adams, Betsy Ross, Molly Pitcher, Alice Roosevelt and Annie Oakley, to her retinue. Ms. Hanley has appeared at the White House Visitors Center, National Archives, National Portrait Gallery, and many others.
Chautauqua takes its name from a series of adult education programs that were first held at a campsite on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in upstate New York during the late 19th century. Chautauquas spread throughout America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries bringing speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day to a wide cross-section of the nation's rural and small-town population.
Circuit Chautauquas (also known as Tent Chautauquas) were an itinerant manifestation of the movement. Programs would be presented in tents pitched in a field near town. After several days, the Chautauqua would fold its tents and move on to the next community. The popularity of Chautauquas peaked in the mid-1920s, after which radio, movies and automobiles brought about the gradual disappearance of the movement by the 1940s.
Reborn in the 1970s as a vehicle for humanities education, modern Chautauquas are organized around a core program in which re-enactors take on the persona of celebrated historical figures, speaking and interacting with audiences.
Modern Chautauquas have been presented annually in Delaware since 1999 featuring a wide variety of historical figures including Teddy Roosevelt; Abigail Adams; Abraham Lincoln; Amelia Earhart; Dolley Madison; Eleanor Roosevelt; Edgar Allan Poe; the Lone Ranger; John Philip Sousa; and Delaware's own Pvt. James Elbert, Maj. Allen McLane, F.O.C. Darley and Clifford Brown.
Delaware’s 2018 Chautauqua is being presented as a partnership between the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the Lewes Historical Society, and the Lewes Chamber of Commerce.
This program is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Mike Dixon, Delaware Historian
Mike Dixon traces the social history of trains in the Frist State, from the beginning of the railroad age to the present.
Gary Wray, President of Ft. Miles Historical Association
Wray discusses how railroads were not only important externally to Ft. Miles, but internally as well.
David Ludlow, Executive Director of the Wilmington and Western Railroad
Possum Point Players Radio Theater a component of Possum Point Players in Georgetown, Del.
Bob Gleason, American Historical Theatre, portrays Mark Twain
Delaware Seaside Model Railroad Club
Paul Buckley, retired Amtrak conductor
Buckley shares stories about passengers and trains he experienced throughout his career at Amtrak.
Debbie Keese, former Director Iron Hill Museum
Keese sheds light on this little known railroad that went from Pomeroy, Pennsylvania to Delaware City, Delaware.
Delaware Seaside Model Railroad Club
This 1946 film stars Judy Garland as mail order bride, Susan Bradley , who while travelling West by train’ meets a group of young women who are about to open a" Harvey House " restaurant at a remote whistle stop.
Broudy sings the songs of railroad workers and discusses the role this music played in their lives.
Kim Hanley, American Historical Theatre portrays a Harvey girl, a way for a young, respectable woman in the age of rail travel to leave home, see the country, and earn a living.
Delaware Seaside Model Railroad Club
Movie screening of the occupational folk songs of railroad track laborers.
John Hodges, President of Delaware Seaside Model Railroad Club
Note: Due to a scheduling conflict, this program will take place at the Lewes Public Library, 111 Adams Ave.
Musical Duo of Mike and Lorraine Messitt, “Retro Done Right”
Neill Hartley, American Historical Theatre, portrays the founder of Lionel Trains.