31 July 2005

But first, a musical interlude...

As we already had plans to see Barbie's friend Becca Yuré perform in the Charlottesville Ashlawn Opera Festival's performance of Annie Get YOur Gun, we saw no reason to put that off, so we're down in Thomas Jefferson's neck of the woods.

Yesterday we toured Monticello, the house and the plantation. We had an amazing plantation tour guide, Stephen Levine. Props to him and the rest of the staff there for making a balanced and historically accurate portrayal of our 3rd president. He crusaded for human rights but had slaves. That was the central dichotomy of his life. The question is of course, was the good he did enough to outweigh his ownership of slaves? You could argue that it was normal, at the time in Virginia, to own slaves, but he was on the record for calling it a stain on America's soul. Tough questions. Good place to visit. Interesting crowd there, actually. Far larger swath of America than you get in an art museum tour, to be sure. They contend, with DNA evidence, that the Hemming family and the Jefferson family are DNA-related, but there's not enough evidence to prove conclusively that Jefferson and Sally Hemming had kids. They step out on the plank with circumstantial evidence (mostly opportunity) and say TJ was the father of all 6 of her kids.

Regardless, there are no Hemmings in the Jefferson family burial grounds, so I guess not all has been rectified.

Annie was great, and so was Becca. Their Frank Butler (Annie's love interest) was also really good. I don't envy these players, in period costumes out in the muggy VA night. Frank sweat through at least 2 shirts, collar and all. We hope to see Becca off- and on-Broadway one of these days...a benefit of living on the East Coast.

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