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On Thursday, October 26, at 7 p.m., Dr. Howard Miller returns to Crawfordsville to present “‘The Sacred Circus’: Ben-Hur on Stage and on the Rails, 1899-1919.”
Opening at New York City’s Broadway Theater on November 29, 1899, the staging of Ben-Hur was a milestone of American theater. After Lew Wallace saw the elaborate stage sets and the New York premiere, he exclaimed, “My God. Did I set all of this in motion?”
The show boasted a cast of hundreds as well as live camels and horses trained to run on treadmills as a cyclorama rotated in the background. The mega-hit ran for 6,000 performances over 21 years and was estimated to have been seen by more than 20 million people.
Dr. Miller is a leading scholar on Ben-Hur and Lew Wallace’s life. He taught at the University of Texas at Austin for forty years, retiring in 2011. During his time at UT Austin, he was instrumental in founding the university’s department of Religious Studies. He was the recipient of several awards for teaching excellence. He has been involved with the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum since 2000.
Dr. Miller’s lecture ties in with the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum’s annual exhibit, From the Page: Ben-Hur as Lew Wallace Knew It. The exhibit discusses the writing of the novel, the Broadway adaptation, and early merchandising efforts.
The lecture is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Please reserve a seat by calling 765-362-5769 or replying to this email.