It is March 1946. In the past year, Winston Churchill has led Britain and the Allies to victory in the European Theatre of World War II. He has also shockingly been defeated for re-election as Prime Minister. Sitting in forced retirement with his wife Clementine at their Chartwell home, Churchill receives an invitation from President Harry Truman to speak in the States…at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, where he will deliver his legendary, emphatic “Iron Curtain” speech. He arrives in Fulton to an informal and esoteric gathering of friends and supporters, and shares his life in flashback and in storytelling.
Experience the man who famously proclaimed, "I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter..." In CHURCHILL, the influential Nobel Prize laureate discusses his failures and his successes; his love of art, liquor and women; and the bravery of Britain's finest hour.
“Fifty years after his death, Winston Churchill has emerged as a star!” — The Wall Street Journal
"Engaging! Entertaining! Excellent!" “Ronald Keaton makes an imposing ‘Churchill’!” “Fascinating and provocative!” “Rewarding!” “Churchill never failed to inspire -- and Keaton's excellent rendition explains why.” — Huffington Post
“Ronald Keaton's Churchill is surprisingly warm, witty and inviting and the play is an utter delight!” “I didn’t want it to end!” “You honestly believe you are watching Winston Churchill reincarnated before your very eyes!” “A flawless performance!” “I guarantee this will be one of the top performances you will see all year!” — nytheater now
“Britain's wartime leader gets a compelling portrayal from Ronald Keaton!” “It’s a kick to see a world leader behave in such a very silly and human way.” — Daily News
“In Ronald Keaton’s CHURCHILL, the noted Chicago actor evokes the great leader with a, dare I say, Churchillian display of sheer thespian bravado!” “Spellbinding!” “It’s a fine piece of work and a noble start to Keaton’s new entity, the SoloChicago Theatre.” “Powerful!” “Charming, deep and emotionally affecting!” — Blogcritics
“Churchill’s words are gallantly here for us to savor anew!” — New York Calling
“Magnificent, heartfelt, entertaining!” — The Andy Gram
Chicago Tribune -"Churchill" at the Greenhouse Theater Center
That so-called special relationship between presidents (some) and prime ministers (some) is front and center in Ron Keaton's very enjoyable and surprisingly emotional new one-man show, "Churchill," not least because Keaton — who wrote the piece for himself to perform under the direction of Kurt Johns — sets his biographical exploration of the great man in 1946. Churchill, his triumphant war cabinet disbanded and the British electorate seemingly less than grateful for his leadership during the Allies' victory over the Nazis, came to the United States to talk at Westminster College in tiny Fulton, Mo., at the invitation of President Harry Truman. The two arrived there by train, drinking Scotch on the way.
Blood, sweat, tears and the triumph of Keaton’s “Churchill”
Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended
Keaton, a veteran Chicago actor who has performed everything from musicals to Shakespeare, arrives on stage in the iconic Churchillian suit, with bow tie and watch fob, and the more you watch him and listen to him, the more he becomes the man himself. It is a triumphant performance (expertly directed by Kurt Johns), capturing the essence of the man without mimicry of any kind. And the actor’s script, based on Churchill’s writings and Dr. James C. Humes’ teleplay, “Winston Churchill,” is superbly modulated to capture a multitude of moods and events, and the dramatic ups and downs of a long and remarkable life.
The Greatest Man of the 20th Century
Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended
This production, which would be very much at home at TimeLine Theatre, begs to be included as a field trip for every area middle and high school student. But this is not only an educational production but a highly entertaining one, often humorous and filled with moments that touch the heart as well as the intellect. Mr. Keaton’s determination to develop and bring this show to life is a real labor of love, and it’s a must-see, inspirational production that promises to speak to every generation.
Theatre Review - Churchill The Greenhouse Theater Center
Windy City Times - Highly Recommended
"However gloomy its premise, this is no dry fact-choked schoolroom lecture. Assisted by Paul Deziel's projections that locate us in time and place, Keaton has authored a brief glimpse of the "British Bulldog"—100 minutes with an intermission—rich in the acerbic wit and stirring rhetoric that renders Churchill's aphorisms quoted to this day. As a performer, Keaton's 30 years as one of Chicago's favorite character actors enables his transformation into the portly, intrepid, whisky-swilling Brit whose vocal delivery evidences the self-educated orator adept at staking out his territory in the "wilderness of politics" he chose to explore. Under the deft direction of Kurt Johns, the results constitute an auspicious debut for the newly-founded SoloChicago Theatre series."
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Mary Shen Barnidge
SoloChicago at The Greenhouse Theater Center ChicagoCritic- Highly Recommended
"...Churchill’s story is told as a memory play that finds him speaking candidly to an American audience late in his life. Keaton evokes a truthfulness that seems genuine as he gets Churchill to speak of many parts of his amazing 91 years on earth. From his difficult childhood and upbringing, especially from a demanding father, to his high ambitions to his multi-faceted talents (painter,brick layer, historian, writer, orator, politician) to his leadership during WWIIwe learn to appreciate the honesty, wit and candor of the man considered to be “the greatest man of the 20th Century.” Keaton nimbly and deftly with aplomb delivers the smart wit and stinging Churchill quotes, retorts and homilies. Churchill’s friendship with FDR, his dislike for the Russians and his “Iron Curtain” speech are remembered."
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Chicago Stage Standard- Highly Recommended
"...Ronald Keaton’s tour-de-force, one-man show is the inaugural production of SoloChicago, an Equity company focusing on solo performances. Keaton’s commitment and dedication to bringing the larger-than-life character of Winston Churchill to the stage is evident in the historical detail and emotional honesty he brings to his subject."
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Julie S. Halpern
Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended
"...Keaton has taken Churchill’s own writings and the teleplay “Winston Churchill” written by Dr. James C. Humes to a new level and has opened the pages of history so that we can peek in and see the man behind the legendary stories. While Churchill was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things, this particular vehicle is for Keaton a golden opportunity to show Chicago what he has. Congratulations Ron- on a job well done and the opportunity to see you at your finest!"
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