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History-Based Presidential Detective Story Gets Previews At Kimmel Center

(David Hutchman stars in "President Ulysses S. Grant and the Great Centennial Banana Mystery."   Credit: Mike DeNardo)

(David Hutchman stars in “President Ulysses S. Grant and the Great Centennial Banana Mystery.” Credit: Mike DeNardo)

Mike DeNardo Mike DeNardo
Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  President Ulysses S. Grant slips on a banana peel in Fairmount Park, in a new production geared toward kids that debuted today at the Kimmel Center, part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.

President U.S. Grant is welcoming people to the nation’s centennial at Memorial Hall in 1876 when he slips on a banana.

But since the banana is new to America, he doesn’t recognize the fruit, and launches a historical quest to identify it.

That’s the premise of the new Please Touch Museum production, playing through Sunday in the basement of the Kimmel Center.

David Hutchman, the museum’s director of performance and events, stars in the Centennial mystery for kids.

“To them, they know a banana,” Hutchman explains.  “But it was new to President Ulysses S. Grant.  A lot of things that they take for granted were new.”

The play is geared toward children ages three to six, says the Kimmel Center’s public events director, Jay Wahl.

“It’s really exciting to have a project particularly for that age group,” Wahl tells KYW Newsradio.  “For families to come, they can sit on the rug, they can sing along with David.  He’s mesmerizing to watch with children.”

After its performances at the Kimmel Center, the play will begin a run at the Please Touch Museum, starting in June.

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