Performance to be held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Photo by Chad Koenen
Teddy Roosevelt will come to life at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Henning on Monday, Oct. 10. The show is being sponsored by the Landmark Center. 

By Chad Koenen

Publisher

Joe Wiegand will bring the life of one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States to Henning on Monday, Oct. 10. The event is being sponsored by the Landmark Center in Henning and will be held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 7 p.m. 

Throughout the show, Wiegand will dress, act and perform as if he were the real life former president. He will tell the story of Theodore Roosevelt to a new generation of historians and families who would like to know more about a president who spent time on a ranch in the Dakotas. 

Wiegand has been performing as Theodore Roosevelt for over 20 years, after becoming infatuated with the 26th President of the United States around 2001. Wiegand said he read the book “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” which was given to him as a Christmas present in 2001. Shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Wiegand was looking for a way to serve his country when he began learning more about the former president. 

While he was too old to join the military, Wiegand felt he could provide some entertainment and history on the live stage to help people in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. He has since traveled the country performing as Theodore Roosevelt.

“What I am able to do for my country is to bring to life, in just a small way on stage, a President who impacted the American people greatly.”

Joe Wiegand

Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States and previously served as the 25th vice president under William McKinley, as well as the 33rd governor of New York. He was sworn in as President on September 14, 1901 when McKinley was assassinated. He became a driving force for anti-trust and Progressive politics and was the youngest person ever to become President of the United States. 

In addition to serving as President, Roosevelt was a war hero, author and operated a cattle ranch in the Dakotas. 

In 2008, Wiegand, his wife, Jenny, daughter, Sam and golden retriever, Faith, traveled across America in celebration of Theodore Roosevelt’s 150th birthday and the final centennial year of Roosevelt’s historic presidency. Among the performances was one for President George W. Bush at the White House and Roosevelt’s birthplace in New York City. 

In addition to his live performances, Wiegand has been featured as President Roosevelt in “The Men Who Built America” on the History Channel, served as the model for the newest Theodore Roosevelt sculpture at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and had a feature role in “National Parks Adventure,” which was an IMAX film about national parks. 

As a one man show, Wiegand is the center of attention throughout the performance. That attention fits well with a joke his daughter often tells of her dad.

“(My daughter says) Father wants to be a bride at a wedding, a corpse at every funeral and a baby at every christening,” Wiegand joked.

Today, Wiegand lives in Medora, N.D., where he works for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. He regularly performs in Medora throughout the summer, as well as select shows throughout the country. 

The family friendly show will be held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Henning and Wiegand said it will be interesting for people of all ages. He said there will be some small highlights to the area and a salute to Minnesota throughout the performance. 

The Theodore Roosevelt performance will be free of charge, but a free-will donation will be taken for those who would like to make a donation to offset costs associated with the performance.