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“Leaves of Grass” to showcase Whitman next weekend

Worthington native Patrick Scullly will perform his one-man show "Leaves of Grass" on May 4 at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Worthington native Patrick Scully will perform a one-man show about poet Walt Whitman next Saturday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center.

The free show, called “Leaves of Grass,” will take place at 7 p.m. May 4. Scully was born in Worthington and raised in the Twin Cities area.

“It’s wonderful that he has local ties,” said Memorial Auditorium Managing Director Tammy Makram. “We’re very excited to bring Patrick here.”

Makram noted that May 31 is Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday, making the timing of Scully’s performance a fitting tribute.

Scully described himself as “very fortunate” to have experienced the success he has during this career as a performing artist.

“The free spirit of the ’60s helped me … take a more creative path through life,” explained Scully who has spent the last 43 years expressing himself through dance and acting.  He said next weekend’s show will depict Whitman “as if he had come back from the other side.”

Scully wrote the show himself after doing extensive research about Whitman’s life. He said the performance “illuminates some important details that history has suppressed.”

“Leaves of Grass” will appeal to a wide audience, Scully said, adding that history and literature buffs will enjoy Whitman’s “uniquely American voice and new approach to doing things.”

LGBTQ people, allies and activists will appreciate Whitman’s perspective, he suggested.

“I don’t think we’d have marriage equality today if Whitman hadn’t written his poetry,” Scully said.

Political science enthusiasts will also like the show, since Whitman himself was heavily involved in politics during his life.

Scully said Worthington is the last stop on his two-year, 48-community “Leaves of Grass” tour throughout Greater Minnesota.

In July, Scully will perform a version of the show for three nights at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

Makram said that although admission to Saturday’s show is free, the auditorium requests RSVPs in advance to know how many people to expect. Interested parties may call 376-9101 to confirm attendance.

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