Photo by Dan Broten
Joe Wiegand will be making a return as former President Teddy Roosevelt to Henning on Sunday at the Trinity Center in Henning. The event will coincide with Trinity Center’s 125th celebration.

By Chad Koenen


For the second time in less than a year a former President of the United States will be making a return to the Henning area—or more specifically, someone who looks, walks and talks like a former President.

Joe Wiegand will be bringing his one-man Theodore Roosevelt show back to Henning, this time to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Trinity Center building. 

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. Even though Wiegand will once again perform as the former President, the show itself will focus on the year 1898 and Roosevelt’s involvement the Spanish war, not necessarily just the former President’s life. As a result, Henning Landmark Center Executive Director Dan Broten said the show will be quite different than the one performed in Henning last fall.

“It will be different. He will still talk about Teddy and his life, but he is going to focus on 1898 and the Spanish war that Teddy was involved in,” said Broten. “I thought it would be a nice tie in to the Trinity’s 125th anniversary.”

Broten said Wiegand’s visit last October was extremely popular as he made stops at the school, various businesses in town and even performed at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in front of a large crowd. What makes his show so unique is that Wiegand never breaks character and will hold a question and answer session at many of his shows as Roosevelt himself.

“He never comes out of character so he will stand there and talk to people all night long as Teddy Roosevelt,” said Broten. 

The Trinity Center in Henning opened in 1898 and is undergoing an expansive restoration project. The facility is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and the Teddy Roosevelt show is just one way volunteers at the Trinity Center are hoping to celebrate the momentous occasion. 

The Teddy Roosevelt show will be held at the Trinity Center with limited seating available. Tickets are available by contacting Broten at the Landmark Center at 548-5760 or by stop-ping by the Landmark Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-4 p.m. Tickets are just $18.98 apiece, a take on the year 1898 and the overall focus of the show.  

More about 

Wiegand’s show

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,” said Wiegand last fall. 

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.