Jake Lesh is preparing for the biggest performance of his life.
The senior theater major from Greendale will travel to New York City to reprise his role as the title character in "The Edwin Booth Company Presents..."
The production, which made its world premiere at UW-Whitewater's Barnett Theatre in November, will be given a staged reading at The Players Club in New York City on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m.
"It's surreal," said Lesh. "Very few actors ever experience this in their lifetimes. To do so this early in my career is really exciting."
Lesh will join a cast of professional actors, many of whom have Broadway credits and have worked in the New York acting circuit for years.
In "Booth," they'll create a world of clever humor, dashing sword fights and beautiful romance.
The play is set in 1858, a year of intense conflict and growth in American history. The script focuses on Booth, the brother of Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. The play is an attempt to bring Edwin's legacy out from the shadow of his brother's shocking act.
Written and directed by popular Milwaukee actress Angela Iannone, the romantic historical fiction follows Edwin Booth and company as they arrive in Boston for an extended engagement, only to have everything fall apart hours before show time.
Iannone (pictured left) is also a theater and dance lecturer at UW-Whitewater.
"It's been a gratifying experience working with Angela," Lesh said. "Not only is she an up-and-coming playwright, she's a working actress who has helped me improve my craft and interpret scripts."
UW-Whitewater theater alumni Selena Reed and Andrew Truschinski, both 2006 graduates, will be participating in the play as well.
The Players Club was established in 1888 by Edwin Booth himself to serve as a gathering place and research center for actors in the New York area. It is located in the prestigious and beautiful Gramercy Park area, where a bronze statue of Edwin Booth stands.
During his lifetime, Booth lived on the second floor of the building. His bedroom is intact as he left it when he died in 1893.