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Brady of Broadway A New Play for One Character about Civil War photographer Mathew Brady

Brady of Broadway A New Play for One Character about Civil War photographer Mathew Brady

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The historic Great Hall of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. provided a magnificent setting for Wm. B. Becker’s acclaimed one-man play, BRADY OF BROADWAY.

The Smithsonian’s new production starring John Dow as Mathew Brady was greeted by overflow crowds and selected as “Weekend’s Best” by the Washington Post.

BRADY OF BROADWAY combines the powerful life-story of the great photographer with the immortal camera pictures that made him famous. The first act ends with a haunting look at the face of Abraham Lincoln–as Brady’s photographs reveal the personal toll exacted by the Civil War on the President.

We meet Mathew Brady in 1891, as he’s being rediscovered by a newspaper reporter. Brady is old and broke and plying his trade in a shabby studio above a train station in Washington, D.C. But he has his memories–of revealing portrait sessions with Lincoln, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and others. And Brady is also preparing for renewed glory–with a slide-show of his famous Civil War photographs.


Brady never lived to present his slide-show at Carnegie Hall. But in BRADY OF BROADWAY, the audience gets to see a grippingly dramatic “rehearsal” of that show, using photographs taken directly from original Civil War prints at the Library of Congress.

John Dow’s performance was directed by William Largess and produced by Jewell Robinson for the Smithsonian’s “Cultures in Motion” series. The play was presented in conjunction with an exhibition of Brady Studio photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.

In previous productions BRADY OF BROADWAY was nominated by The Detroit News as Best New Play of the Season. Cleveland drama critic Herb Hammer called the show “a vivid and fascinating tale about the life and times of this colorful character… Becker’s play flanked by continuing slides showing many of Mr. Brady’s photographs keeps your attention riveted to the stage.”


was selected as an official program of the U.S. CIVIL WAR CENTER

Presenting organizations: Click here to request information.

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