photo by BILL GAITHER
Michael Krebs, nationally known Abraham Lincoln impersonator, looks over a letter to the “Widow Bixby” who lost five sons in the Civil War, during a performance Saturday afternoon at the Kensington Ballroom.
|Krebs gives a ‘presidential’
Lincoln impersonator brings his act to Galesburg
By SUSAN KAUFMAN
Posted May 31, 2008 @ 10:10 PM
When Michael Krebs asked the audience of about 20 people who believed he was actually Abraham Lincoln, a good number of hands went into air.
It is no surprise. Krebs, who has been portraying Lincoln since 1992, has an uncanny resemblance to our 16th president. To some in the audience, he even sounded like “Honest Abe.”
“He seems so presidential,” said Jackie Piper of Galesburg. “His speech and his mannerisms were just like Lincoln’s.” She paused for a moment. “Well, if we knew what Lincoln sounded like.”
Joan Hunt, Galesburg, didn’t miss a beat. “I haven’t talked to Abe in a while but he (Krebs) really does sound a lot like him,” she said to a round of laughter.
All kidding aside, Hunt gave the performance high marks. “His last statement summed it all up. ‘We are all born equal.’ It was wonderful. I very much enjoyed his performance.”
Krebs, who stands 6-feet-4 and sports a beard and hair style similar to Lincoln’s, spent the first 20 minutes of his performance Saturday afternoon at The Kensington Ballroom reflecting on Lincoln’s life as President during the Civil War and his commitment to end slavery. The words from the 19th century paralleled current issues in United States — those of war, freedom and elections.During the second half of his performance, Lincoln — make that Krebs — took a more conversational and humorist tone. He reflected on Lincoln’s personal life and told anecdotes of Lincoln’s life as President. Much to the delight of the audience, he even told a lawyer joke. “Why do they call it practicing the law? Because they never get it right,” Krebs quipped.
|After a brief question and
answer session as Lincoln, Krebs told the audience about
himself. He was a theater major at Western Illinois
University and a working actor after that. He was convinced
to start his own Lincoln impersonator business and got his
big break after President Clinton saw one of his
Krebs never knows what questions people are going to ask while he is in character so he is extremely knowledgeable about Lincoln’s life.
For Lincoln buff Bruce Hall of Galva, it was well worth the price of gas to see Krebs in Galesburg. “I saw him when he was at Knox College years back. I didn’t get a picture of him then so when I saw he was coming to Galesburg, I knew I had to go."
|Abraham Lincoln impersonator Michael
Krebs will make five appearances in Galesburg this
By JANE CARLSON
Posted May 29, 2008 @ 11:08 AM
When comes to town this weekend wearing a tall hat and a long black jacket, it won’t be the first time the well-known Abraham Lincoln impersonator has spent time in Knox County.
Earlier this month, Krebs visited Gale Elementary School and Abingdon Middle School. And, like Lincoln, Krebs has passed through this area many times in his travels across the state.
But there was one visit to Galesburg almost 15 years ago that stands out in Krebs’ memory. He played Lincoln in the 1994 re-enactment of the Lincoln-Douglas debate at Knox College that aired on C-SPAN and says that opportunity jumpstarted his career as a Lincoln impersonator.
“I owe a lot to this place,” Krebs said. “That opened doors that would have taken 10 years to open. But they opened instantly.”
Since 1992, Krebs, a Chicago-based actor, has portrayed Lincoln at thousands of museums, schools, corporate events, re-enactments and other functions, not just in Illinois but all over the country.
Like Lincoln, Krebs stands 6 feet 4 inches without his boots and his facial features and mannerisms are uncannily similar to Honest Abe’s. He has appeared at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Hoover Presidential Library, Gerald Ford Museum, Chicago Historical Societies and many other spots. He previously was an actor with Chicago’s American Theatre Company for 10 years.
In Galesburg this weekend, Krebs will make five different appearances — three of them with Choral Dynamics for the community choir’s “All Aboard Galesburg” show, in which he’ll introduce songs and provide narrative nuggets of Lincoln’s simple logic.
The Choral Dynamics show — at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, all at the Orpheum Theatre — is a bit of a departure from the performance he gives in schools, but Krebs said he is looking forward to it. For many performances, he has Debra Ann Miller portraying Mary Todd Lincoln by his side, but this weekend he’s flying solo.
“It’s something different and I like to take on different things,” Krebs said.
Krebs also will give two performances of “Conversations with Lincoln” at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday at The Kensington Ballroom. Seating is limited for the performances at The Kensington