Starring: Rosa Parks, Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, Hedy Lamarr and Nikola Tesla
Monday June 14 – Friday June 18, 2021
afternoons at 3:00pm and evenings at 7:00pm

Meet five amazing game-changers – hear their stories – ask them how they reinvented America.

  • Create a nation with BEN FRANKLIN

  • Turn darkness into light with THOMAS EDISON

  • Spark the Electrical Revolution with NIKOLA TESLA

  • Smash the glass ceiling with Hollywood’s HEDY LAMARR

  • and like ROSA PARKS demand your Civil Rights

You’ll laugh – you’ll cry – you’ll have lots of questions. And they’ll be answered. Bring your stories. Share your experiences. Get inspired. Because it’s not just history – it’s personal.

All Spartanburg performances will be held at the Headquarters Library in the Barrett Room, . Free parking is available in the lot behind the library. | MAP

All performances are free and open to the public.


Benjamin Franklin | portrayed by Larry Bounds

Monday June 14 Two shows: 3:00pm and 7:00p
Music at 7pm show: TBA

– Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Living in the Age of Enlightenment, Ben Franklin was many things: a printer, a postmaster, an ambassador, an author, a scientist, a founding father. Above all, he was an inventor, creating solutions to common problems, innovating new technology, new governments and even making life a little more musical. Franklin upheld science and intellect and reason – scandalous man!

Franklin helped invent and reinvent the American government as well as himself. He was a Loyalist who transformed into a patriot and founding father. He proposed the Albany Plan, mirroring the Iroquois. He drew up the Articles of Confederation uniting the colonies under the British Crown – and then he signed their Declaration of Independence. As the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention, he declared that the new government was a republic – if we can keep it.

Besides his experiments in electricity and inventions of bifocals, swim fins, the Franklin stove and the glass armonica, perhaps Ben Franklin should be best known for helping create a government with the flexibility to reinvent itself.

3:30PM SHOW DETAILS 7:00PM SHOW DETAILS

Nikola Tesla | Portrayed by Ian Ruskin

Tuesday June 15
Two shows: 3:00pm and 7:00p
Music at 7pm show: TBA

– Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Nikola Tesla has been called many things: wizard, showman, prophet, charlatan, magician, and Father of the 20th Century – perhaps even of the 21st. He was a prophet dishonored in his own time, but revered in ours. Now he’s a rock star icon for billionaires, cyberpunks, and inventors who are still fiddling with everyday machines in their basements and garages. A car, a rock band, and a unit of magnetic measurement have been named after him.

Tesla sparked the electrical revolution that transformed daily life at the turn of the 20th century. This lone genius inventor is credited with inventing everything from radar to the microwave oven – including alternating current, the Tesla coil, and wireless transmission.

Called a madman by his enemies, a genius by others, and an enigma by nearly everyone, Nikola Tesla was a trailblazer who created astonishing, sometimes world-transforming devices that were virtually without theoretical precedent. He is now seen as a visionary who wanted to marry technology with world peace.

3:30PM SHOW DETAILS 7:00PM SHOW DETAILS

Hedy Lamarr | Portrayed by Judith Kalaora

Wednesday June 16
Two shows: 3:00pm and 7:00p
Music at 7pm show: TBA

– Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Who would have believed that “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World,” Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr, was a genuine celling crasher scientist whose groundbreaking invention revolutionized modern communication, and made your cell phone, GPS and Wi-FI possible? But there’s no law that says an inventor can’t be beautiful.

She was the scintillating adolescent in Ekstase; the cunning wife who wrenched herself free from a dead marriage to a Nazi munitions mogul; the beautiful refugee who fled the Nazis to become a Hollywood movie siren, the Mark Zuckerburg-esque twenty-something brash enough to believe her inventions would upend the world. Perhaps the most important thing Hedy Lamarr re-invented was herself.

For all the girls, women, and anyone ever told they cannot do math, understand science or change the universe, Hedy Lamarr will inspire you to continue your pursuit to re-invent your world.

3:30PM SHOW DETAILS 7:00PM SHOW DETAILS

Thomas Edison Portrayed by Hank Fincken

Thursday June 17
Two shows: 3:00pm and 7:00p
Music at 7pm show only: TBA

– Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Who would have believed that “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World,” Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr, was a genuine celling crasher scientist whose groundbreaking invention revolutionized modern communication, and made your cell phone, GPS, and Wi-Fi possible? But there’s no law that says an inventor can’t be beautiful.

She was the scintillating adolescent in Ekstase; the cunning wife who wrenched herself free from a dead marriage to a Nazi munitions mogul, the beautiful refugee who fled the Nazis to become a Hollywood movie siren, the Mark Zuckerburg-esque twenty-something brash enough to believe her inventions would upend the world. Perhaps the most important thing Hedy Lamarr reinvented was herself.

For all the girls, women, and anyone ever told they cannot do math, understand science, or change the universe, Hedy Lamarr will inspire you to continue your pursuit to reinvent your world.

3:30PM SHOW DETAILS 7:00PM SHOW DETAILS

Rosa Parks Portrayed by Becky Stone

One Show: Friday June 18 at 7:00p
Music: TBA

– Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Sometimes when the status quo needs to be shaken up, it is necessary to take a stand. Other times, one must courageously take a seat. Rosa Parks is best known for being arrested for sitting in the wrong bus seat. But Parks was not an apolitical, middle-aged lady whose fatigue kept her seated. Hers was an act that radically changed America itself.

Founded on the opinion that human beings can be owned by others, America placed its democracy in the hands of free white landed males. It took a bloody Civil War before America abolished slavery. Soon after, Jim Crow laws, lynching and voter suppression changed it back into a nation where rights were brutally divided along color lines.

By the 1950’s a different America was emerging. Brown vs Board of Education ruled racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. And a woman named Rosa Parks and a whole new concept of Civil Rights was about to reinvent American democracy.

7:00PM SHOW DETAILS


The Spartanburg County Public Libraries have generously sponsored Spartanburg Chautauqua History Comes Alive performances at the Headquarters Library since 2011.

We are celebrating our tenth anniversary by doubling the number of shows you can attend for free!