From the Original Playbill

The play "I, EMERSON BURKHART" is unique in that it marks the first time in this country that a full-length play has been written and produced to coincide with a major exhibition of paintings by a noted American artist. Script for the play came from some six hours in electronic tape produced between 1956 and 1966 by the playwright, Doral Chenoweth. Burkhart was expansive on many subjects. Burkhart was a brilliant, opinionated conversationalist. Burkhart was a debater of note. Burkhart loved life and culture. In the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts and a thousand private homes around the nation, Burkhart exists as a painter. The Chenoweth tapes and script provide you with an artistic view of a great American painter.

The Dead Duck
Emerson Burkhart at work in 1946. From the Short North Gazette.

DORAL CHENOWETH came from his native North Carolina to Ohio to work on a Scripps-Howard newspaper. Like a hundred other reporters, he was given an assignment to do a story on Emerson Burkhart. It was just a single feature type story, one of a hundred that ran on the painter during his lifetime. But Chenoweth went one step beyond that single interview. He stretched the "interview" over a period of a decade. The script for the play is the heart of a book to be written by Chenoweth for publication next year. This production marks the first time a Chenoweth play has opened in Columbus. One of his plays, a conventional three act drama has been running in various university theaters for more than two years.

BARBARA SICHEL brings a 30-year theatre career to Columbus with the Burkhart play. Her career as producer-director began in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Due to the political situation in Argentina, Mrs. Sichel returned to her native United States in 1952. Her theatre career in South American and Midwest North America includes everything from Shakespeare and Shaw to musical comedy, operatta, drama, light comedy and farce. Mrs. Sichel is the author of her own list of morality plays which have received wide church exposure in recent years. She organized Playhouse in the Park which played Toledo's Zoo Theatre for a number of years. She organized and was producer-director of Chamber Theatre, a repertoire company in Toledo.

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