Lincoln’s Last Murder Case :: The Affray

The Affray:  Lincoln’s Last Murder Case is back by popular demand.  
My daughter will again be performing in this local production!
McLean County History Museum hosts Lincoln courtroom drama for 2nd year in a row. Back by popular demand, the Museum, in partnership with Illinois Voices Theatre, will present The Affray: Lincoln’s Last Murder Case, an original dramatization of one of the more exciting cases in Abraham Lincoln’s long and productive legal career.  The Affray details Lincoln’s defense of Peachy Quinn Harrison, a young Springfield resident who was accused of the murder of Greek Crafton.  The trial took place just months before Lincoln accepted the Republican nomination for the presidency.

There will be three performances of the trial: Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21, at 7:00 p.m., and Sunday, July 22, at 1:00 p.m.  Immediately following the Sunday matinee performance will be a discussion led by Robert Bray about the actual Peachy Quinn Harrison trial.  The play will be presented in the historic Governor Fifer Courtroom at the Museum

Robert Bray, the R. Forrest Colwell Professor of English at Illinois Wesleyan University, and Jared Brown, former director of the School of Theatre Arts at Illinois Wesleyan University, fashioned the script in part on surviving testimony from the trial.  The play poses the question: Will Lincoln introduce the testimony of a venerable preacher, which may be a lie?

The opening night performance on Friday, July 20, will be a special museum fundraiser, and tickets will be sold for $25 per person. Proceeds from the opening night ticket sales will go towards supporting our free educational programs for area schools and nursing homes, as well as our award-winning exhibits. Tickets on Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22, are priced at $10 for Museum members and $12 for nonmembers.

Ticket sales will begin on Monday, June 25th, 2012. Tickets can be purchased in advanced at the Museum, over the phone, or can be purchased at the door the day of each performance. Last year, the play was sold out a week before the performances began and seating is limited to 112 per performance, so buy your tickets early! Watch your mail boxes for a member mailer with more information on purchasing tickets in advance.

Jared Brown, formerly the Director of the School of Theatre Arts at Illinois Wesleyan University, is the author of six published books, including four biographies of individuals in theatre or film; a history of the theatre in America during the revolution; and a novel. His most recent book is Mind the Gap and 2 Other Mysteries. He directed his evening of three one-act plays, Three for the Show, at Heartland Theatre in November 2010. He has also written a number of episodes for the Evergreen Cemetery Discovery Walk and performed in one of them.

Robert Bray is the R. Forrest Colwell Professor of English at Illinois Wesleyan University. A native of Kansas, he received his PhD from the University of Chicago (1971) and has focused his work on 19th century American literature and history. His most recent scholarly works are a biography of the frontier Methodist preacher, Peter Cartwright in 2005 (Cartwright was Peachy Quinn Harrison’s grandfather) and Reading with Lincoln in 2010. He is the co-author of one previous play, Lincoln’s in Town!  produced for the Lincoln Bicentennial in 2009.

For more information about this program, or to purchase tickets, please contact the Education Department at 309-827-0428 or via email at

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