Winston Churchill Visits San Angelo
SAN ANGELO, TX — Sir Winston Churchill is in San Angelo. His last appearance is Sunday at 2 p.m. at the San Angelo Performing Arts Center, 82 Gillis St. downtown.
Randy Otto said he’s been in character as the former British Prime Minister for about 40 years. The Milwaukee native travels the globe as Churchill, speaking to everyone interested in history. The play was written, produced, directed, and performed by Otto.
The one-man, two-act play starts with Churchill describing his daily routine. The day starts with a glass of champagne. “A single glass of champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced, the imagination is agreeably stirred, the wits become more nimble. A bottle produces a contrary effect,” Churchill quipped.
Act one introduces the audience to the man, where Churchill alone on stage, in the setting of his home office, describes how he came to be Churchill, the man who saved Great Britain and the world from Nazi Germany. Otto’s portrayal of the Lion is witty, oftentimes humorous, and an engaging history lesson.
The second act is performed in the adjacent black box theater. There, with a three-screen multimedia display of rare footage and photos of London during the Battle of Britain, Churchill is seen perched on top of a roof as bombs drop on his beloved countrymen. He asks the crowd if they believe in miracles?
“For those who don’t, let me tell you about this miracle,” Churchill announces. He explains that Hitler’s eight-month-long bombing campaign of London started by a mistake. Nonetheless, Hitler seized the opportunity and vowed to bomb London into rubble. Then an amphibious invasion called Operation Sea Lion will follow, where Nazi troops will not need to do much but ‘kick the rubble that once was London,” Churchill said.
Instead, the miracle was the Battle of Britain hardened the spirit of Churchill’s countrymen and ensured the Allies’ victory. The amphibious assault never happened.
Churchill: The Blitz ends with an interesting and engaging question-and-answer period where audience members ask Churchill any question that comes to mind. Saturday, someone asked what Churchill thought of the use of atomic bombs on Japan. It saved 1 million American and 1 million Japanese lives that would have been lost in an amphibious assault on the Island of Japan, Churchill argued.
Mark Levine, director of the Performing Arts Center, said ticket sales have been brisk. Thursday and Friday’s shows were nearly sold out. The Saturday matinee we attended had about 150 in the appreciative audience. The smaller block box theater holds about 280.
Sunday, April 23, at 2 p.m. is the last performance. Tickets are $25 each, $22.50 for military and senior citizens. You can purchase tickets here.