Individuals of all political persuasions invoke the “Founding Fathers” to justify their positions – but have you ever wondered what the Founding Fathers themselves would think?

That’s the question at the heart of Ben Franklin & Baron von Steuben vs. the Paine County School Board.

The play is inspired by a little-known historical fact – Baron von Steuben, the Revolutionary War hero credited with transforming the Continental Army into a force capable of beating the British, was a gay man. When a history teacher in the fictitious Paine County School District teaches this, and conservative school board members get wind of it, the stage is set for dramatic confrontation.

All this proves a bit much for Franklin and von Steuben, who’ve been observing the action from the Great Beyond. They decide to risk intervening in contemporary affairs to set the record straight, successfully transforming controversy into comedy and demonstrating that even if history doesn’t repeat itself, it will still try almost anything to get your attention.

As with all TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater plays, Ben Franklin & Baron von Steuben vs. the Paine County School Board is designed to tour. It’s a nimble production, traveling with six actors and minimal tech needs. It is written by TAPIT/new works Danielle Dresden, who also performs in the play, along with Donna Peckett. We’re eager to work with presenters to build a deeper connection with your audiences. This production is a great way to kick off campus and community-wide conversations about:

  • Diversity and inclusiveness
  • Establishing safe spaces and practices for addressing controversial issues
  • Democracy in the 21st century

Master classes on playwrighting, socially-engaged theater, and tap dance are also available.