Andrew Edlin is best known for his portrayal of Sir Winston Churchill in the play Churchill which he authored. The most frequent and compelling response from audiences to this one man play is “I was inspired”.
Andrew also offers educational outreach addresses such as 'Churchill and Leadership', keynote speeches, and after-dinner and corporate programs.
In 2012 he produced and co-directed his abridgment of Shakespeare’s King Lear in which he played the title role.
Andrew Edlin has performed in over 30 stage productions including Mr. Badger in Toad of Toad Hall; Erronius in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest; Sir Robert Chiltern in An Ideal Husband; Harpagon the Miser in The Miser; Munro Murgatroyd the villain in the melodrama Dirty Work at the Crossroads; Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady; Mr. Bumble in Oliver!; Drake the Butler in Annie; The Steward in Into the Woods; Sebastian in The Tempest; Egeus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Mittler in Force of Nature; Jonathan Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace; Major Metcalf in The Mousetrap; Frank Gilbreth Senior in Cheaper by the Dozen; and six characters in The Dining Room.
His favorite film role is as ‘Big Tony’ McGuffin in the short Dick Diamond - Private Eye.
Edlin was born in Brighton, England. His grandfather was the actor Tubby Edlin. He was educated at Cranleigh School, Surrey, and went on to Magdalen College, Oxford University where he received a scholarship in History. He graduated with a degree in Psychology and Philosophy. Several of the early productions in which Andrew Edlin appeared include The Royal Hunt of the Sun, The Representative, A Sleep of Prisoners and Boris Godunov.
He studied the Sanford Meisner Acting Technique with Steve White, and voice training with Mike Jewell, Doug Daller and David Malis.
Andrew moved to the United States in 1990. He has two grown children, and one granddaughter, and lives with his wife, Tena, in Fairfield, Iowa.
9/15/2016 Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, TN
10/1/2016 Warren Cultural Center, Greenfield IA
1/14/2017 Corning Opera House, Corning IA
3/12/2017 Florissant Civic Center, Florissant MO
3/30/2017 Banners at McNeese State University, Lake Charles LA
4/25/2017 Arkansas State University, Mountain Home AR
5/5/17 Stephen Sondheim Center, Fairfield IA
3/17/18 & 3/18/18 Stokes County Arts Council, Danbury NC
3/19/2018 Alleghany Highlands Arts Council, Covington VA
9/15/2018 Pella Opera House, Pella IA
11/17/2018 Capitol Theatre, Burlington IA
1/27/19 The Iowa Theatre, Bloomfield IA
Big Ben strikes 10, and the first of many overhead images, and a BBC radio broadcast, set the scene that Sir Winston Churchill, aged 80, is pondering in his bunker ‘to go or not to go’ as Prime Minister. Churchill is very skeptical of his successor Anthony Eden – ‘he’s too nice’ – and somewhat of President Eisenhower – ‘Ike doesn’t get it’.
Churchill wryly and wittily reviews his life from birth, looking for evidence of what to do. He segues from wise observation, to funny story, to iconic speech, to pithy analysis of colleague and enemy alike. Churchill sentimentally recalls his socialite mother, his disapproving father, unhappy school life, marrying Clemmie, and his army career in Cuba, Africa, India and then Europe in World War One, becoming ever more at the center of events as a Member of Parliament, and then a Minister. As World War Two approaches, Churchill the orator, warns, and then leads, the free world against Hitler. He describes the alliance of necessity with Stalin – ‘if Hitler had invaded Hell, I would have at least made a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons’.
By the end of Act One, he has decided that he has to stay on. But he does not call his wife Clemmie...yet. ‘I’ll have my bath first, and then I’ll call her’. The lights come up on Act Two with Churchill off stage in the bath with the ‘phone ringing. On he comes in his bath towel. ‘Haven’t you ever seen a naked Prime Minister before?’ Churchill dresses, partly on stage, and reviews his relations with Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Truman, and those with his family. Emotionally, he speaks of his long dead father, whose love and approval Churchill has been trying to gain all his life. In an imagined exchange – ‘Is it enough, sir?’ – he finally gains the permission to rest and retire that he has been craving. He 'phones Eden, and then Clemmie – ‘Yes, you were right!’ – and the play closes with some classic Churchillian advice – ‘Never flinch, never weary, never despair’ –
And, of course, a cigar.
Quotes from the play:
"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few."
"You can always trust America to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities."
"A sheep - in sheep's clothing. A modest man, who had a great deal to be modest about."
"I have often had to eat my own words, and have found them a wholesome diet."
"If we fail, then the whole world will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science."
"If Hitler had invaded Hell, I would have at least made a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons."
Reviews and comments:
"A marvelous show. From start to finish, our audience was hanging on every word. Every line, delivered perfectly by Mr. Edlin, was an insight into history and into the remarkable man who was Winston Churchill. There was laughter, tears, and moments of thoughtful silence as the esteemed British statesman graced our stage" - Warren Cultural Center
"Andrew Edlin is spellbinding as Winston Churchill...fascinating, hilarious and dramatic...a truly remarkable play"
"The acting was so good within a minute I had forgotten it wasn't the man himself"
“For the opening weekend, Churchill sold out almost every night! We couldn’t have been happier with the turn out. The packed houses roared with laughter and were charmed with the funny stories. After each performance, the writer and sole performer, Andrew Edlin, would sit down on the stage and have a talk back with the audience. Each talk back was uniquely stirring and lasted almost half an hour!” - Old Creamery Theater
"Gales of laughter followed by an attentive silence where you could hear a pin drop"
"Edlin is in perfect control of his character. He is stubborn. He is aroused. He is loving. He is sad. He is irritated. He sobs. He jokes. He is regretful. He is proud. He is Churchill." - Premiere at Odyssey Stage, 1997
"The stirring performance was everything we'd hoped for - and then some" - Arkansas State University, Mountain Home
"What a terrific performance! It was not Andrew Edlin on stage. It WAS Winston Churchill"
"Entertaining, informative and inspiring...Churchill has much to teach us about courage, determination, and political savvy"
"Charming, funny, and smart as hell - just like the man himself"
"Incredible - quite on par with, even above - other professional touring acts we have brought in" - Bluff City Theater, Hannibal MO
"Edlin has Churchill down pat... his delivery was spot on... delivered it to a full roar from an appreciative house" - McNeese University, Lake Charles LA
http://www.winstonchurchill.org/ is the website of the Churchill Center. There is much fascinating and well-researched information there.
THE CONTEMPORARY RELEVANCE OF ‘CHURCHILL’
Most audience members come to Churchill to enjoy an evening with a familiar legend. It is a 'tribute show' ! TV shows The Crown, Churchill's Secret, and feature films Churchill, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, contribute to the constant drumbeat in the world asking ‘What would Churchill do?” His candid, decisive, informed, collaborative leadership is his most enduring legacy. There is also a desperate yearning, that being around the wise, comforting, courageous, confident winner against the odds character of Winston Churchill will rub off - and help us answer our own life-or-death questions.
Whether Russian expansionism, jihadi militancy, prickly relations between Europe and the U.S., nationalist populism, or existential foreign threat: Churchill would feel at home with many of today’s news stories. Indeed, he started many of them; presiding over the founding of British Petroleum (BP)’s oil discoveries in Persia/Iran, and being Prime Minister in 1953 when the Mossadegh coup was engineered by CIA/MI5 agents, and the Shah took power in Iran.
Some, including President Trump, saw President Obama’s deal with Iran as appeasement (Obama as Chamberlain), and others saw it as farsighted realpolitik against common enemies (Obama as Churchill/Roosevelt allying with Stalin). Historical comparisons are tossed around daily. Everyone wants to assume Churchill's mantle of leadership, including those he would have disdained.
Darkest Hour portrays Churchill in 1940 on his first day as Prime Minister. My play Churchill shows him at the other end of his time as Prime Minister, a weary titan, in 1955 pondering 'to go, or not to go'.
Churchill's life showed that a leader could be flawed, be human, and still conquer his demons to achieve a level of greatness that few men ever have.
As he said himself of the RAF pilots in the Battle of Britain : ‘Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.’
Maybe to one – Winston Churchill.
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