COSHOCTON -- Ohio Chautauqua, presented by the Ohio Humanities Council, will be in Coshocton July 7-11 presenting Journey Stories. Marvin Jefferson, from Montclair, New Jersey will be portraying Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Saturday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Coshocton Co. Fairgrounds.
"This will be my fifth tour with Ohio Chautauqua," said Jefferson. "I have also performed with Chautauquas in Nevada, Colorado Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and throughout New Jersey and New York in off Broadway performances."
Jefferson has been portraying Dr. King as a Chautauqua character since 2000, but as an actor since 1988, a role which he was voted best actor for in 1994 in the New Jersey production 'Road to the Mountaintop.'
"Many in Coshocton will remember Marvin Jefferson when he was here with Ohio Chautauqua in 2013 portraying York, the guide on the Lewis and Clark expedition," said Jan Myers, director of the Coshocton Visitors Bureau.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will take the stage under the Ohio Chautauqua tent located at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds, 707 Kenilworth Avenue on Saturday, July 11, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Prior to his performance, there will be live musical entertainment with Larry Stahl and Steve Ball at 6:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free.
Marvin Jefferson will offer a youth workshop entitled, "Power of the Written Word," for youth ages fourth grade and up at the Coshocton Public Library, 655 Main St. at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 7. His Adult Workshop entitled, "Dr. King's Last Great Dream," will take place at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8, at Central Ohio Technical College, 200 N. Whitewoman St., Coshocton.
Jefferson said he began researching Dr. King in 1986 and continues to learn things all the time about him. "When you are working with a figure this huge, I can study him the rest of my life and still learn more," said Jefferson. "Unfortunately, most of what people know about Dr. King is from the 1963 'I have a Dream' speech and we tend to freeze him in that time frame. But there is much, much more to the story that I like to share with audiences."
"What I portray of Dr. King's life are things people most likely haven't heard too much about," added Jefferson. "I focus on the time frame a few years later in 1967 when he wasn't such a beloved figure, but this was a time when he became his most courageous. He had even more powerful speeches besides his popular 'I Have a Dream' speech."
Jefferson says his youth workshop has a lighter focus. "People may think this workshop might be very serious and heavy, but we try to have fun and keep things light," he shared. "We talk about how to deal with conflict and how to approach a problem without being combative."
His adult workshop is more lecture style focusing on the Poor People's Campaign. "I think workshop attendees get a lot out of this lecture since my view of Dr. King evolved as I have continued studying him," added Jefferson. "We will watch a documentary film and discuss how King changed policy as it relates to the poor, even across all ethnic lines."
The schedule for the characters who will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. under the Ohio Chautauqua Tent during the week of July 7-11 are: Debra Conner as Edith Russell on Tuesday, July 7; Kevin Radaker as Henry David Thoreau on Wednesday, July 8; Dianne Moran as Olive Ann Oatman, a white captive of the Indians on Thursday, July 9; Hank Fincken as 1849er J. Goldsborough Bruff on Friday, July 10; and Marvin Jefferson as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saturday, July 11.
Musical entertainment will precede each evening's performance and includes: Wildwood & Friends on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.; Jerry Weaver on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.; The Lindseys dulcimer music on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.; The Coshocton Community Band on Friday at 6 p.m.; and Steve Ball & Larry Stahl on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Each of the scholars will also lead free workshops (which are not done in first-person) for both youth and adults throughout the week. The youth workshops are appropriate for youth ages ten and older. The workshops are held at the Coshocton Public Library and will be held at 10:30 a.m. each day from July 7-11. The adult workshops will take place at 2 p.m. each day at Central Ohio Technical College.
"I love visiting Ohio and I so enjoyed my time in Coshocton in 2013," said Jefferson. "I loved the Canal Boat Ride especially! I hope everyone will come out and experience all of the characters that will take the stage while we are in Coshocton. We promise it will be an unforgettable time."
Sponsors and contributors to the Ohio Chautauqua in Coshocton include The Coshocton Foundation, Montgomery Foundation, Simpson Family Foundation, Coshocton Village Inn & Suites, Central Ohio Technical College, Annin Flagmakers, Frontier Power, Coshocton Model Railroad Club, Coshocton REACT, Boy Scout Troops 402 and 412, Habitat for Humanity of Coshocton, and the Coshocton Public Library.
There is no charge to attend the evening performances or the daytime workshops.
For information about The Ohio Humanities Council and Ohio Chautauqua, visit www.OhioHumanities.org.
For information about Ohio Chautauqua in Coshocton, contact the Coshocton Visitors Bureau at 740-622-4877 or 1-800-338-4724. A complete schedule of the Ohio Chautauqua events in Coshocton is available at www.VisitCoshocton.com.