Arts and Entertainment

Hey, Ben, looking good for 304: Meet Founding Father Benjamin Franklin at SJCT

No, it’s not an April Fools’ Day joke.

Benjamin Franklin appears at San Juan Community Theatre on April 1, 7:30 p.m., thanks to Northwest history actor, educator and scholar G. Robin Smith.

Smith’s lifelong admiration of Dr. Franklin, combined with a passion for “hands-on history,” inspired this illuminating “Chautauqua” (a first-person live presentation of the life of a famous person): “Benjamin Franklin, Innovative American.”

Smith calls Franklin: “demanding and generous, frustrating and inspiring, traditional and revolutionary … some would say radical and rebellious …he is still our friend, the genius.”

Smith’s presentation builds on the audience’s own conversations with Franklin to provide a unique and intimate “brush with history.” Smith has brought his Chautauqua to several states across the country. His presentation is appropriate for audiences eight years old to adult.

The evening’s business partner is Roche Harbor Resort. Tickets are $16 for adults, $8 for student reserved, with $5 student RUSH one hour before the show. The Box Office is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at

Franklin was a leading author, civic activist, diplomat, inventor, political theorist, printer, satirist, scientist, soldier and statesman.

Franklin was a newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, and became wealthy writing and publishing "Poor Richard's Almanack" and "The Pennsylvania Gazette." He played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania.

He served as the first U.S. postmaster general, 1775–1776; U.S. minister to France, 1778–1785; U.S. minister to Sweden, 1782–83.

His inventions include bifocals, a carriage odometer, the lightning rod, and the Franklin stove. He also formed the first public lending library in America.

Trust funds he established in Boston and Philadelphia helped fund mortgages, scholarships and build a trade school into the 1990s. He was also an avid chess player, and was inducted posthumously into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame in 1999.

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