Local Actress plays Abigail Adams in this yearâ€™s Philly Fringe
Colleen Oâ€™Brien is a professional on-camera actress, voice over artist, and fit model typically working in the Greater Philadelphia and New York Metro areas, but she does have a penchant for playing famous female figures in Americaâ€™s War for Independence.
Although this marks her premiere appearing as Abigail Adams, Oâ€™Brien has many years of experience doing first-person historical interpretation of other remarkable 18th Century women, most notably Philadelphia socialite and wife of the â€śPatriotâ€ť Mayor, Eliza Powel in last yearâ€™s Fringe production of Eliza and Patsy.Â Â She has also played Quaker Spy Lydia Darragh and famous artillery-woman Molly Pitcher in past seasons with Historic Philadelphia, Inc.
â€śAbigail Adams is the most widely known 18th Century woman Iâ€™ve ever played,â€ť says Oâ€™Brien.Â â€śItâ€™s always a challenge portraying a person the audience already feels like they know well.â€ťÂ Given her experience, Oâ€™Brien feels she is up to the challenge.Â She also appears to enjoy her status as the lone female in the cast.Â â€śI do have a lot of fun being the only woman on stage,â€ť she explains, â€śparticularly when my role entails my arguing passionately for womenâ€™s rights.â€ť
In The Play â€śBenâ€ť Ben Franklin is the central character in a poignant, humorous examination of the delicate balancing of the important issues of slavery, womenâ€™s rights and independence.Â Â The cast includes Michael Powell of Horsham as Ben Franklin, Joe Lawless of Villanova as John Adams, Gavin Young of Fairmount as Thomas Jefferson, Rocco Amato of South Philadelphia as John Hancock, and Brian Patrick Harrington also of South Philadelphia as Thomas Paine.
They are joined by Colleen Oâ€™Brien of Pottstown in the role of Abigail Adams and Anthony Riley of West Philadelphia as Franklinâ€™s personal slave named George.
Written by Richard C. Dalton of South Philadelphia.Â Georgina Bard of Glenside, Director.Â Stage Manager, Lauren Tracy of Chinatown.Â Assistant Stage Managers Kristine L. Bonaventura of Boothwyn, and Janelle Kauffman of Powelton Village.
The show is the debut production for Historical Theatre Acting Group, a new collaboration between local theater artist and director Georgina Bard and playwright Richard C. Dalton.Â The group reflects their shared vision to portray turning points in American History in an interesting and thought provoking way.
Performances are to be held at historic Tindley Temple United Methodist Church, 750 South Broad Street, Philadelphia.Â Â The church was renamed after its founder, Rev. Charles A. Tindley, who was himself born a slave.
The Play â€śBenâ€ť opens Sunday, Sept. 12 at 4pm.Â Shows on Tuesday thru Friday evenings Sept 14 â€“ 17 at 8pm.Â Two performances Saturday, Sept 18 at 1pm and 5pm.
All shows are at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church, 750 South Broad St, Philadelphia.Â Tickets $20. Â For tickets, contact the Festival Box Office at (215) 413-1318 or visit www.livearts-fringe.org.
Colleen Oâ€™Brienâ€™s credits, photos and demos are available on her website www.colleenobrien.net.