U.S. President Harry S. Truman's grandson will perform a one-man show as his grandfather at Capital City Productions next week, providing a unique opportunity for residents of the president's home state.
Clifton Truman Daniel is the oldest grandchild of Truman, who served as the 33rd president from 1945-53 following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Daniel embodies his grandfather in the show "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" where he reenacts pivotal moments in Truman's life and career.
Part of CCP's Spotz! On the Artist Series, "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" will run at 7:30 p.m. July 15-17, as well as 1 p.m. July 17, at 719 Wicker Lane in Jefferson City. Tickets cost $30 and can be purchased at ccpjc.org/give-em-hell-harry/. The show does not include dinner.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be the first time Daniel will perform the show in more than a year-and-a-half. Daniel — who was 15 years old when his grandfather died in 1972 — said it's only fitting the performance be in Missouri, Truman's home state.
"It's just really nice that it worked out that way because I did a book a while back on my grandparents' letters to each other, (and) in reading those letters, they both talked about Jeff City," Daniel said. "I think it's great that the first show after this whole lockdown is back in Missouri. I think grandpa would really like that, too."
CCP founder Rob Crouse said he has been trying to bring "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" to the dinner theater's stage for years. He said he became "enamored" with the 1975 production and film, written by Samuel Gallu.
"Here we are, a Missouri theater, and we are in Jefferson City, the state capital. What a great place for him to come," Crouse said.
Daniel's favorite part of the show is the humor woven throughout the production. Not only will audience members learn about Truman, they will also witness several comedic moments.
"He took the needs of the country pretty seriously, but he never took himself too seriously," Daniel said. "I don't know if grandpa was as funny as I make him out to be, but too bad — he's not around to yell at me."
Daniel hadn't always planned on performing a production as his grandfather. He worked in journalism, public relations and acting for several years before taking early retirement. He later began giving speeches about Truman, which eventually led to him performing Gallu's production as a one-man show in 2017. The eight-show run in North Carolina was successful, and Daniel decided to take it on the road.
Along with performing "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" Daniel has written two books about his grandfather and portrayed Truman in the independent film "Second Samuel."
Daniel and Crouse encouraged residents to watch the show, especially since Truman is a point of pride for many Missourians.
"A sensible, hardworking, honest, farmer, soldier, mid-class Missourian rose to the highest office in this land and did a better job at it than almost anybody else," Daniel said. "Remember where he came from and that (Missouri) was a big reason for why he was successful."
Crouse added this is a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" since it's not everyday audience members see a professional one-man show performed by a direct descendant of a United States president. There is also something for everyone to enjoy — history, politics, theater and comedy
"Just having the experience to tell your grandchildren that you saw the grandson of one of Missouri's most famous heroes, Harry Truman, would be something," Crouse said.