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April 10, 2008
'One Destiny' plays at the White House

Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee file

Sacramento-based playwright Richard Hellesen,whose work has been seen around the country, can add a uniquely prestigious venue to his resume - the White House. That’s right - the one in Washington, D.C., where our president and his wife live.

On Monday, Hellesen’s play “One Destiny,” gave a special performance for First Lady Laura Bush, Salma Kikwete, the first lady of Tanzania, and students from several different Washington-area schools. (Check out the "official" press release.)

The play takes place in 1865, a couple days after President Lincoln was assassinated, and depicts the traumatic event from the points of view of two people who were there - Harry Hawk, the actor on stage when the president was shot, and Henry Ford, one of the theater's owners.

The 45-minute, one-act play was commissioned by Ford’s Theatre and Hellesen researched the historically accurate piece there before writing his play.

Hellesen has written numerous works for young people, including “The Wind in the Willows,” which is currently playing at the Young People's Theatre of Folsom through April 20; and “Johnny Tremain” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” both of which have been produced at the B Street Theatre’s Family Series. Hellesen’s most popular work may be his enduring adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” with music and songs by David de Berry, which still lights up stages around the country during the holiday season.

Now Hellesen has had a command performance, so to speak.

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