Jessica Michna, recipient of the Presidential Service Center's Distinguished Service Award, is become widely known for her riveting portrayals of First Ladies, notable women of history and fictitious characters. She has entertained groups throughout America including guests from as far away as New Zealand, Japan and Brazil. Audiences ranging from young children to senior citizens have been equally enthralled. She has had the honor of performing at the National Churchill Memorial, Lincoln Boyhood National Monument and other esteemed venues. She has appeared before historical societies, schools, libraries, living history museums, senior centers, churches, and has been guest hostess at parties and weddings.
Mrs. Michna’s performances are compelling and emotionally enthralling. Audiences laugh along with her humorous anecdotes. They share in her tears as she relates how the horrors of war have impacted families. She has a powerful effect on an audience.
The normal presentation runs approximately an hour. The program can be shortened or lengthened to meet specific needs. Two act versions for community theatre can also be provided. Jessica is always open to questions after the program. Performance fees are very reasonable, based on the length of program and distance traveled.
References, biographical information, detailed program information and photos available upon request. JESSICA and MICHAEL MICHNA are the ONLY people authorized to take bookings for FIRST IMPRESSIONS!!
Abigail Adams – “A Lifeline of Letters”
After forty years of marriage, Abigail looks back to the days of her early marriage as the young wife and mother. Referring to the many letters written between the Adams, she recalls the days of revolution and uncertainty. She reminisces about the friendships forged in France and England as a diplomat’s wife. Mrs. Adams brings to life the early days of Washington, D.C. as seen from the windows of an unfinished White House.
Mary Todd Lincoln – “Preserve the Union”
Mary recalls her early years and education in Lexington, Kentucky. She tells of her move to Springfield, Illinois, where she would meet and marry the young prairie lawyer. Mary introduces the audience to life in Washington, regaling her listeners with stories about her boys, including her biggest boy Mr. Lincoln. In this time of national strife, the Lincolns would suffer personal tragedies, concluding on that fateful day in April of 1865.
Mary Todd Lincoln – “An Intimate Conspiracy”
Nearing the end of her life, Mary Lincoln was ill in mind, body and soul. She wandered endlessly, always seeking comfort and solace. At what seemed to be the lowest point in her life she would suffer the ultimate betrayal, at the hands of her son, Robert.
Mary Todd Lincoln – “A Widow Forgotten”
Mrs. Lincoln’s life has come full circle as she returns to Springfield, Illinois to take up residence with her sister Elizabeth. She recalls the days of her girlhood in the genteel society of Lexington, Kentucky, her marriage to the gangly young lawyer, and eventually her rise to become the First Lady.
Eleanor Roosevelt – “First Lady of the World”
Eleanor Roosevelt shares with the audience her tragedies and triumphs. Born into the opulent wealth of America’s “Golden Age” she would grow from the shy, homely orphan into a confident, driven woman. Annealed by personal tragedy, she would emerge as a champion of civil rights, author, and stateswoman. She is best summed up by President Harry S. Truman, who dubbed her “The First Lady of the World.”
Eleanor Roosevelt – “Brother Can You Spare a Dime”
Upon Roosevelt’s election in 1932 he remarked to a friend that the country’s problems must be solved immediately or he would be the last President. The First Lady would take on the role of advocate for those American’s most seriously affected by the Great Depression
Sari (Ma) Semple – “The Truth, As I Recollect”
In the great oral tradition of the story teller, Sari Semple takes us back to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of the mid-nineteenth century. As Sari spins her tales the listener is transported to those hills. The stories blend together the folklore and the gritty reality of life in the ridges and hollers of Appalachia. Young and old alike will be spellbound by the rich tapestry of words woven by Sari. She is the First Lady of Appalachia.
Dolley Madison – “The Lady Who Saved Washington”
Charming, flamboyant and strong willed, Dolley was tested in the calamity of the War of 1812. Born into a Quaker family, Dolley was raised to be obedient and well behaved. Early in her life she married a man selected by her father. Dolley would soon be strengthened by adversity. Widowed at an early age she would soon be courted by Congressman James Madison. As First Lady, Dolley would become the Grand Dame of Washington.
Helen Keller – “A Life Nearly Lost”
In the late nineteenth century a little girl struggled out of the depths of fear. At the age of two, Helen experienced a life threatening illness. She was plunged into a dark, silent world. Anne Sullivan, a determined young teacher, would find the key to unlock Helen’s prison. Through Anne’s diligence and perseverance, Helen would become a world renowned speaker and advocate for the disabled.
Cordelia Harvey – “Angel in a Gray Bonnet”
Cordelia Perrine Harvey came to Wisconsin as a young girl. Trained as a school mistress, she would meet and marry Louis Harvey, who would rise to the governorship of Wisconsin. Cordelia’s life unraveled when she was widowed after less than three months in the Governor’s Mansion. Her husband’s tragic drowning left Cordelia rudderless and without purpose. She would set aside her grief to become the healing angel of a nation wracked by civil war.
Goode Rebeka, Trial by Fire – “The Salem Witch Trials”
It was a new world. The settlers from England had gained a foothold in the verdant land called “Amerika”. Old traditions would be laid aside, new ones instituted. Greed, jealousy, suspicion would still persist. Were these at the root of “The Salem Witch Trials”? Innocent residents of Salem, Massachusetts were tried and many executed in perhaps the most infamous chapter in early American history.
Mary Ann Bickerdyke – “To Heal a Nation”
During the American Civil War more soldiers would die from disease than wounds. The care these men received often was worse than the illness itself. Many women in both North and South would step forward to act as nurses. Mary Ann Bickerdyke would distinguish herself during this period. She was beloved of the soldiers, who referred to her as “Mother Bickerdyke”.
Margaret Cummins – “Christmas at Balmoral”
Join the Christmas festivities at Balmoral Castle. Meet Margaret Cummins, head housekeeper of Balmoral during the reign of Queen Victoria, as she prepares for the arrival of the royal couple and their nine children. Learn about the traditions and history of the season.
Edith Galt Wilson - “To End All Wars”
Prohibition is the law of the land as the new year of 1925 begins. The decade will become known as the “Roaring Twenties”. The stock market is booming, Hollywood is cranking out silent films; there is bathtub gin and “Flaming Youth”. Mrs. Wilson has greeted another New Year quietly after the death of the President in February, 1924. The “war to end all wars” is now a memory. Mrs. Wilson has stood by the President stoically as she saw his strength sapped from the stress of the war and his dream of a League of Nations fade. Edith Galt Wilson sits alone now, answering the hundreds of letters of condolence.
Mrs. Charles Dickens – "The Best of Times"
Charles Dickens, author, playwright, actor and social activist, was indeed a master of characters. Many of his characters were drawn from life. Meet Catherine Dickens, his long suffering wife and mother of ten children. Mrs. Dickens will introduce the audience to such women as; Nancy from “Oliver Twist”, Miss Havisham from “Great Expectations”, Betsey Trotwood from “David Copperfield and others.
Laura Ingalls Wilder - “The Road to the Little House”
Generations of children worldwide have been fascinated by the stories and books of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her “Little House” series was the basis for a successful television series. But how did her life really evolve? What motivated her to put her experiences to paper? In this new First Impressions presentation by Jessica Michna you will meet Mrs. Wilder, older, wiser and reflecting back on her life. She will tell you her life story and how she came to produce her literary works.
Golda Meir - “The Journey Home”
How does a girl born in the Ukraine, raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, travel a path that will lead her to become Prime Minister of Israel? This informative, entertaining program, developed by Jessica Michna, explores that rather circuitous route. What roadblocks and detours were thrown in Golda's way and how did she overcome them? The journey is a fascinating one, filled with joy, sorrow, seriousness and humor. Let Golda, as portrayed by Ms Michna, tell you in her own words