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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

Chatauqua in Mount Vernon

Chatauqua in Mount Vernon

Tonight, we are taking a glimpse at three of the most influential presidents of the United States of America. All three led our nation through wars of very different technologies.

Tonight’s Performers

Ken Hammontree (George Washington) brings a wide range of characters to life for educational purposes, and now boasts many different characters. After college, Ken began teaching school and was saddened at how disinterested students seemed with the prospect of learning about our nation's history. He began bringing "History to life" by sometimes dressing as an historical character, incorporating elaborate costumes, and devouring volumes of historical information. His first character was "Johnny Appleseed," but he has now branched out into a variety Of historical figures including, but not limited to: General George Washington, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, Daniel Boone, Tecumseh, and Oskar Schindler. He is an established "presenter" through his company "Living History Productions," and is a walking historical library spanning over 50 years, and prides himself in portraying each one with authenticity and detail. Ken is also a published author, having published his first historical novel "There Was a Time."

Ken Barnett (Franklin D. Roosevelt) is certainly not a newcomer to the stage. He is a fifty-year veteran of the stage, having directed more than 150 plays and musicals as well as performing in more than 50 more. Residents of Mount Vernon will recognize Ken from his numerous portrayals of Mark Twain, Red Skelton, Johathon Winters, Dame Edna Everage, and as "Cogsworth in MTV Arts' production of "Beauty and the Beast," in 2008.

Ken is a retired teacher from Mount Gilead school system, where he directed plays and musicals for over 20years. Additionally, Ken has directed and acted at The Ohio State University in Mansfield, The Renaissance Theater in Mansfield, and The Mansfield Playhouse, and is a founding member of Morrow Little Theater in Mount Gilead.

Ken has been married to his lovely wife, Marty, for forty-five years and has three grown children and six grandchildren.

James Stoner (John F. Kennedy)- James loves presenting a variety of historical figures and is known by the Mount Vernon audiences, for characters ranging from John Lennoin, Frank Sinatra, Robin Williams, Clark Gable, Roy Rogers, Will Rogers, Edgar Allen Poe, Woody Hayes, and many others. James graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in English and was President of the OSU Men's Glee Club. He has been using his degree to write, and he’s widely known for bringing "The Black Cyclone Story," the story of Charles Follis to national recognition through a variety of initiatives. Jim still sings with the "Chapeaux" male vocal group and remains active as a singer and actor in the area with his wife Amy, and they also share the stage as a duo. James enjoys stretching himself as an actor and has presented as JFK before. He is an active producer with the Mount Vernon Players, and recently established Madcap Living History, a not for profit business that celebrate Historical education.

Amy K. Stoner (Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy) has been involved in Knox County Theater initiative for more than 40 years., as well as an active Chatauqua performer in Mount Vernon, she has presented as Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana, as well as many others„ and joined up husband Jim as "Roy Rogers and Dale Evans," and Bonnie and Clyde. She is the driving force behind Madcap Living History and is the President of The Mount Vernon Players.

Raylene Hlavaty (Martha Washington,) has enjoyed singing and acting since childhood which prompted her mother to enroll her in the Wayne Center for the Arts Youth Theater program a few summers in a row. She graduated from Triway in 1988, and Ohio State in 1992 with a B.A. in English. During her high school years, she was active in The Friends of J.C., a skit and juggling team created by her brother Lance Weirick. She became interested in history after college, when she viewed a video of David Barton recounting the story of the bullet holes left in George Washington's coat after the Battle of Monongahela in the French and Indian War. Since then, she has been busy searching out the workings of God in history. She is married to Mike Hlavaty and retired from homeschooling their three boys.

To learn more about Raylene visit


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