On Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m., Lou Del Bianco, of Port Chester, N.Y., will give a “captivating” living history presentation “Out of Rushmore’s Shadow” in the Coolidge Theatre at the Deane Center for the Performing Arts, located at 104 Main St. in Wellsboro. It is for adults and youth, ages 10 to 18.
In his “intriguing” one-man show about history, ancestry and perseverance, Del Bianco, a master storyteller and entertainer, portrays his grandfather, the only classically trained Italian stone carver to work on Mount Rushmore.
“This is the real story about the carving of Mt. Rushmore and how it happened,” Del Bianco said. The show has received rave reviews from schools, libraries and historic groups. “A graceful balance of humor and heart” according to the L.A. Times.
When Del Bianco was in second grade, he discovered a Mount Rushmore National Park pamphlet advertising a fundraiser to help complete the carvings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Inside the pamphlet his grandfather’s name, Luigi Del Bianco was listed as chief carver. His mother confirmed that Luigi, who had died when his grandson was six, did work on the sculptures. Lou, who was his grandfather’s namesake, wanted to know more.
Follow Lou’s journey as he and his Uncle Caesar (Luigi’s son) learn that Luigi is not even mentioned in the most definitive book on Rushmore; about the historic documents he and his uncle unearth at the Library of Congress that tell about Luigi’s special relationship with “The Master” Gutzon Borglum who sculpted the colossal, 60-foot high faces of the four U.S. presidents in granite; how Borglum depended on Luigi to bring Lincoln’s eyes to life and save Jefferson’s face; and the 25-year journey to get Luigi the recognition he deserved.
Luigi was named the South Dakota monument’s chief carver by the National Park Service in 2016, more than 45 years after his death in 1969. On Sept. 17, 2017, a plaque was unveiled at Mount Rushmore crediting Del Bianco as its chief carver.
The audience is invited to ask questions following the show.
Tickets are $15. To reserve a seat for this very special show, call the Deane Center at (570) 724-6220 or visit DeaneCenter.com.