The Ballad of Billy Lee

One-man show performed by distinguished actor Henry Brown tells the story of an African-American slave who served as George Washington’s valet and was, in fact, President Washington’s closest companion in war and peace.

When: Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, 7 p.m.

Where: Plaza Playhouse Theater, 4916 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, CA

Cost: $20

Age limit: All ages

Categories: Theater


Eighteen years younger than Washington, Billy Lee was a superb horseman, a bold soldier and literate aide. He was at Washington's side when he crossed the Delaware, his companion through the miseries of Valley Forge (where Billy met the love of his life), the struggles at Boston, New York and Yorktown. He galloped at the general's side in battle after battle: a slave armed with two pistols, a carbine and a spyglass. He was personally responsible for Washington's private papers at the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention.

Billy Lee was also with Washington every day at Mount Vernon, riding his properties regardless of weather. He was freed at Washington's death, and was the only slave individually named in Washington's will. Lee's unflinching courage and unswerving loyalty had a powerful impact on Washington, helping greatly to change Washington's view of slavery over the years, and contributing to his eventual condemnation of it as a crime against man and God.

In “The Ballad of Billy Lee,” he tells his own story in words and the familiar songs of the era (Yankee Doodle, Michael Row the Boat Ashore, numerous spirituals, etc.) plus several new songs written specifically for this show by Len Lamensdorf. As one lyric says, "A hero for the ages but forgotten by the sages." In this production we are giving Billy Lee the honor and admiration he so bravely earned.

Tickets are available at, the Curious Cup Bookstore, 929 Linden Ave., and at the theater box office the day of the performance. Tickets are $20. The Plaza Playhouse Theater is located at 4916 Carpinteria Ave. in downtown Carpinteria. For more information, call (805) 684-6380.

Phone: 805-684-6380

Event posted Oct. 1, 2012
Last updated Oct. 2, 2012


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