Tony Dingman as John Wilkes Booth
Tony Dingman as John Wilkes Booth

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by noted actor John Wilkes Booth. The Frazier History Museum is commemorating this anniversary by producing “Sic Semper Tyrannis,” a 40-minute original play depicting the assassin’s story and the manhunt that followed. The performance will be followed by a 12-day Twitter event that will re-enact the manhunt.

Sic semper tyrannis — or “thus always to tyrants” — is what Booth called out moments after delivering the fatal gunshot to President Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre on April 15, 1865. The play was written by Tony Dingman and will be performed by Dingman and fellow teaching artists Kelly Moore and Eric Frantz.

While many states claim to be the home of Lincoln, only Kentucky can claim to be his birthplace.

In addition to being a well-known actor, Booth was also a Confederate spy. Four days before assassinating Lincoln, Booth attended a speech by the president during which he called for voting rights for blacks. Booth had been planning the assassination for more than a year, but the speech so incensed him, he moved his plans forward. He shot Lincoln at point-blank range while the president’s bodyguard was next door in a bar, and then he escaped. After a 12-day manhunt, he was tracked down at a farm in Virginia. He refused to surrender and was shot and killed.

The performance is tonight, April 14, at the Frazier History Museum; doors open at 6 p.m. and the performance is at 7. It’s free for members and $7 general admission, which includes admission to the gallery and a cash bar.

Follow the live Twitter manhunt April 14-26 at #JWB1865.