Welcome to the journey

What is “A Night Before Gettysburg”?

“The Night Before Gettysburg” is a 1-man, 3-scene, 1-act play, in which Abraham Lincoln finishes writing the Gettysburg Address in his bedroom the night before the speech (true history)  In Scene 1, Lincoln talks directly to the audience in 2023, explaining events that led up to the Battle of Gettysburg.  Scene 2 takes place in his bedroom in1863 as he finishes the speech.   He is torn as he grapples with slavery, racism, war carnage and the deaths of two of his children; and recounts the battle as told to him by General Meade.  Scene 3 is presentation of the Gettysburg Address.  

Live performances are followed by Q/A, which begins with a deeper look at historical events brought forth in the play.  Then the audience is invited to ask questions, no holds barred.

About Chuck

I am Chuck Johnson, author and presenter of “The Night Before Gettysburg” in which Abraham Lincoln finishes writing the Gettysburg Address in his bedroom, the night before the speech. I have been involved in community theater in west central Minnesota all my adult life, perhaps on stage for 20 shows. I left the stage in 2015 because my hearing was failing and I began to miss lines from my fellow actors. The one-man play eliminates that problem.

I wrote this play to compete in a one-act play contest in Wadena, Mn in 2021. It earned three awards, Best Play, Best Original Play and Best Actor. Destination Gettysburg discovered the play through a national keyword search engine, and contacted me to consider performing in Gettysburg on the anniversary of the battle. We struck a deal, and I performed 10 shows in 2022., and 6 in 2023 on the 160th anniversary of the battle.

He’s “torn asunder” as he works on the speech.   Racism, slavery, war carnage and the deaths of two of his children tear at his soul. 

“The Night Before Gettysburg” takes you inside Abraham Lincoln, as he asks himself “What is slavery?   Why is slavery?  Why are men enslaved.”  As he answers those questions, you see Lincoln the man, who he was, what he stood for and the burdens he carried.

–Chuck Johnson