Having performed as the Nixons in 2015, the Reagans in 2016 and John & Abigail Adams last year, William and Sue Wills return is a welcome event. Since Hurricane Irma, the library switchboard has received phone calls asking, “Are the president people coming?” Fortunately, this annual State of the Union is traditionally booked on or near Jan. 20, which happens to be Presidential Inauguration Day.
Starting in 1991, the Wills began researching, writing and performing a series of presentations they called “Presidents and Their First Ladies, dramatically speaking.” William does the research (using mostly existing books and magazine articles and some original research), writes the first draft of the scripts, then Sue edits the same. Sue either “finds” or creates all of their period costuming. Among Sue’s comedic costume highlight was Nancy Reagan’s rendition of “Second Hand Clothes,” a reworking of the classic “Second Hand Rose” made famous by Franny Brice and Barbra Streisand.
For 15 years, the Wills have performed along the Atlantic coast and Midwest, being away from home nine months of the year. For the last six years, the Wills have limited their traveling to Florida and special events — presidential museums and large organizations all over the USA.
As both the Eisenhowers and the Trumans, William and Sue will perform at the Boynton Beach Civic Center on Feb. 7 in support of their nonprofit foundation, the Presidents Project to support Wounded Warriors. (For tickets, please visit www.presidentsproject.org).
William and Sue Wills first met in 1970 and have performed in almost 9000 shows together since. Their three children — Jennifer Hope, Daniel Parker and Rebecca Anne — were raised on-stage and backstage.
Jennifer Hope has performed on Broadway as a leading lady for Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast.
A Master’s degree graduate from Indiana University, she also teaches vocal performance.
A mother of five, Rebecca Anne served as the business manager for “Presidents and their First Ladies,” and is also a nurse. A Veteran of “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Daniel Parker returned to his hometown in Ocean City, Maryland and works as an EMT dispatcher, while pursuing certification to become a paramedic.
As both history and theater, “Presidents and their First Ladies, Dramatically Speaking” is truly a labor of love. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis with a seating of 150 seat capacity. Thanks to the Friends of the Percy White Public Library, this unique performance is free to the public. Percy White Library is located at 837 E. Hillsboro Blvd.