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Posted at 11:00 PM ET, 06/04/2012

Morgan Freeman and Elie Wiesel help Wayne Reynolds say goodbye to Ford’s Theatre


Morgan Freeman and Alma Powell at the Hay-Adams Hotel on Monday. (Courtesy of Ford's Theatre)

After six years at the helm, Wayne Reynolds celebrated his last day as chairman of Ford’s Theatre Monday at a lunch with friends — including Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel and Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman.

Wiesel and Freeman, who both received Lincoln Medals at the theater’s annual gala Sunday night, stayed in town for Reynolds’ send-off Monday at the Hay-Adams. Freeman, casual in blue denim shirt and jeans, introduced Wiesel; the author gave a short, elegant speech (without notes) on character, compassion and friendship.

Reynolds is credited with rebranding the historic theater, turning it from the place Abraham Lincoln was assassinated (something that always embarrassed theater officials) into a comprehensive center about the life and legacy of the 16th president. “Why you do think all these people come to Ford’s Theatre?” Reynolds told the board. “To pay homage to and learn about the greatest president.” He raised millions to create its museum, Web site, programs and educational center.

Next up? “I don’t know,” he said with a laugh. “My wife hasn’t told me.”



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By  |  11:00 PM ET, 06/04/2012

 
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