Praise for Radaker's "Thoreau"

"Kevin Radaker's splendid dramatic presentation is truly transcendental. The challenging ideas, mind-thumping humor, and bristly passion of Thoreau are realized in the scholarship and artfulness of Radaker. The question and answer sessions with Thoreau and then Radaker are a particular delight. Dusty literature and dull history are dealt a death blow here; this performance has in it as a constant a happy punch of immediacy, and I heartily recommend it."

--Lee Stetson, Performer of "An Evening with John Muir," Yosemite National Park, Yosemite, California; Voice of John Muir in Ken Burns' "The National Parks: America's Best Idea"


"Kevin Radaker's portrayal of Henry D. Thoreau held the audience spell bound as he took us back in time to Thoreau's lyceum lectures. His portrayal was alive and personal as he challenged the audience with Thoreau's timeless admonitions. As a serious student of Thoreau's works, I have witnessed Kevin's presentations several times and, in each case, I have left with a feeling of the presence of the spirit of Thoreau."
--Thomas A. Potter, President of the Thoreau Society, 2006-2012

"Hearing Kevin Radaker's commanding dramatic performance as Thoreau was spellbinding. There is simply no other word for it. His wide and deep knowledge of Thoreau's life and writing was especially apparent when he answered questions as Thoreau, using quotations from Thoreau's works seamlessly as he answered queries from the audience. We invited him to be a part of an action-packed week of events celebrating our 375 years as a faith community. His presentation was a highlight and a gift."
--Reverend Jenny Rankin, First Parish in Concord, Unitarian Universalist, Concord, Massachusetts

"Kevin Radaker brings out the principled passion of Henry Thoreau's actions and writings. Students respond enthusiastically to his performance, which meaningfully extends Thoreau's legacy beyond the classroom and into the contemporary world."
--Sandy Petrulionis, Professor of English (Penn State, Altoona); author of “To Set This World Right: The Antislavery Movement in Thoreau's Concord”

"Kevin Radaker's portrayal of Thoreau combines penetrating and exhaustive scholarship with vibrant and dynamic theater. The result is a mesmerizing performance that is moving, illuminating, and profound."
--James David Moran, Director of Outreach, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts

"Weaving together Thoreau's best known lines with sentences from his journals and more obscure works, Kevin's monologue is compelling, and his in-character answers to audience questions afterward are so authentic and aptly chosen that people are persuaded they are visiting and thinking along with Thoreau himself. Radaker's Thoreau is an intellectual treat of the first order."
--George Frein, Director of the National Chautauqua Tour

"For me, Kevin Radaker’s portrayal of Henry David Thoreau perfectly illustrates the power of Chautauqua to challenge and inspire an audience. I hated reading Thoreau in high school and had written off his body of works as boring, pretentious, and irrelevant in today’s world, but Kevin gave Thoreau a voice, perspective, and passion I had completely missed as a young adult. Throughout the performance I was moved by Thoreau’s profound words and relevance to our world today. When the performance was over, I was eager to re-read Thoreau’s work. I highly recommend Kevin Radaker’s ‘Thoreau’; it is a truly amazing performance."
--Sarah Schaefer, Director of Education, Museum on Main, Pleasanton, California

"Despite appearing before an audience of more than 750 persons, Kevin Radaker’s portrayal of Henry David Thoreau offered us an intimate understanding and appreciation of Thoreau’s philosophy, stimulating much thought in relation to past and contemporary issues. As program chair for the High Plains Chautauqua, I will add that Kevin is a pleasure to work with. In addition to being an outstanding Chautauqua scholar, he is gracious and unpretentious."
--Jane Adams, Program Chair, High Plains Chautauqua, Greeley, Colorado


"Never in my thirty years of teaching environmental conservation . . . in the heart of Thoreau country . . . have I seen such an inspired portrayal of Thoreau. I commend Professor Radaker's portrayal of Thoreau to audiences across America."
--John E. Carroll, Professor of Environmental Conservation, University of New Hampshire

"Professor Radaker's rendition of Henry David Thoreau is excellent. The fervent blend of contemplation, justice, eloquence, and humor that is Thoreau is manifestly incarnate. I can think of no better introduction for someone new to Thoreau; for those of us who are already acquainted with him, it's a very welcome visit from our old familiar friend from Concord."
--Chad Ferguson, Ph.D., Environmental Scientist, Ohio EPA

"Kevin's scholarship and personal commitment to the subject are impressive, adding depth to his presentation of this highly meaningful material."
--Bonnie Williams, University Curator of Wylie House, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

"For our 20th year of Chautauqua in Greeley, Colorado, we asked our audience members to select their favorite characters to bring back as a grand Encore. They chose Thoreau among their top eight, and so Kevin Radaker once again delighted all of us with his engaging portrayal. Having worked with scores of Chautauqua scholars over the years, I am confident in saying that you simply cannot find a better scholar than Kevin Radaker. He is also a master teacher who knows how to inspire listeners to learn more about Thoreau on their own. I recommend him enthusiastically and without reservation."
--Ron Edgerton, Member of the High Plains Chautauqua Program Committee, Greeley, Colorado

"I can best sum up my strong recommendation with the words of a Chautauqua participant: 'Wonderful! Loved it! I learned - I am changed.'"

--Todd Burdick, The Berkshire Chautauqua Program Director, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

"Kevin's portrayal of Thoreau was very well received by our lyceum audience at the Rocky Mountain National Park, provoking a great deal of thought in particular about religion and the environment."
--Richard Putney, Interpretive Ranger, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado

"Kevin Radaker infuses his characterization of Thoreau with wit, intelligence, and humor. It's an engaging and entertaining way to revisit the past and to learn about the father of conservation."
--Audrey Rust, Executive Director of the Wallace Stegner Lecture Series, Menlo Park, California

"The scope of Thoreau's interior journey was fully realized from an abundant emotional pallet, and it seemed that Dr. Radaker knew as much about the life of his subject as he did of his own."
--J. Clark Nicholson, Artistic Director, Gamut Theatre Group, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

"My own students--advanced English majors who had been studying Thoreau--were enthralled with the performance because of the ways in which Radaker was able to bring Thoreau's prose to life."
--Jane Schultz, Professor of English, Indiana University / Purdue University at Indianapolis

"Kevin Radaker's performance, hackneyed as it may sound, brought Thoreau to life. I cannot praise his work highly enough, especially its vitality and professionalism."
--Martha Patterson, Associate Professor of English, McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois

"Kevin Radaker's portrayal of Henry David Thoreau is energetic and thoughtful. The Q & A in particular demonstrates his versatility and quick wit: he IS Thoreau."
--Patrick Manning, Library Branch Manager, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Northfield, Ohio

"Radaker's mastery of Thoreau and his times was deeply impressive, and his feel for the man he portrayed came through with amazing clarity."
--Lloyd Hunter, Chair, Department of History, Franklin College, Franklin, Indiana

"Kevin Radaker's monologue in Tulsa in 2003 provided an exceptional blend of performance and substance, and his question-and-answer session was as thrilling as the humanities gets, offering a transporting and unforgettable experience for all."
--Suzan King, Chautauqua performer