Former Gov. Sonny Perdue and his wife, Mary, will be back in the public eye next week — taking on a new role specifically for a local audience.
Perdue will portray Uncle Sam in the children’s Annual Spring Musical at First Baptist Church Woodstock, and his wife will play Lady Columbia.
The pair, who attended FBCW regularly while Perdue served as governor, will star in “In God We Trust,” at the Sunday evening 6 p.m. service on May 19.
Melanie Sauer, director of FBCW children’s music, said she reached out to several political celebrities to star in the show, and received a quick answer back from Perdue, who said he’d be in the play. However, he said his wife had the real dramatic talent and so she should star alongside him.
Sauer’s original role in the play was for an eagle narrator, but she decided to rewrite the play, casting the former governor as Uncle Sam.
For Mary Perdue’s role, Sauer zeroed in on Lady Columbia, about whom she found an interesting history.
The name Columbia for “America” first appeared in 1738 in the weekly publication of the debates of the British Parliament in Edward Cave’s “The Gentleman’s Magazine.”
“When people talked about America as a whole, ‘Columbia’ represented the values of the American people,” Sauer said. “Columbia was personified many ways in the United States, including in the name ‘District of Columbia.’”
In 1924, Columbia Pictures adopted the symbol as its logo, and in more recent years, “Lady Liberty” has taken her place.
“I was recently in Washington, and there is a figure on top of the U.S. Capitol building that looks to be Lady Columbia,” Sauer said. “They used to dress her in the flag, until it became illegal to wear the flag, and then they draped her in blue cloth.”
The play, which highlights elementary-school age singers at FBCW, is set in the U.S. Supreme Court, which is hearing a fictitious case regarding whether “In God We Trust,” should be taken off American currency.
“People need to be reminded who our country was founded on. We were founded on God,” Sauer said.
Sauer has been busy making costumes for the Perdues, and said the former governor has made an effort to prepare for his part in the play.
She said he e-mailed her, asking for background information.
“Does Uncle Sam have a life?” he asked.
Sauer said Perdue will carry the play, and will open the performance with a rap that he and Mrs. Perdue have been practicing at home.
Since the former first couple will only be in the area for the weekend (they are from Bonaire, near Warner Robins), they will only be able to attend dress rehearsals prior to the performance, but Sauer feels the show should go on without a hitch, as her little ones will have their parts down pat.
Sauer said the children’s spring musical is free of charge and open to the public; doors open at 5 p.m. for the Sunday evening service.
For more information about the production, contact Sauer at (678) 494-2872.