Joe Wiegand

"Thank you. Your spirited performance for Theodore Roosevelt's 150th birthday celebration at the White House was a great way to commemorate the many accomplishments of our 26th President. I appreciate your help in making the event memorable for all our guests."

George Bush

President of the United States

"Yet another actor stole the show. Gesticulating with enthusiasm and crying “Bully!,” Joe Wiegand, portraying Teddy Roosevelt, declared he was “Deeelighted to be here!” In his time Roosevelt doubled the number of national parks and created national monuments like Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and the Grand Canyon, he said, despite foes in Congress who declared, “Not one red cent for scenery!”” ‘For the benefit and enjoyment of the people’ National Park Service celebrates 100th year as our best idea."

Gail Schontzler

Bozeman daily Chronicle

"“An hour and a half after the sound check, Jonathan Jarvis, the N.P.S.’s director, held a press conference across the road from Yellowstone’s H.Q., in Mammoth Hot Springs. At a time when his agency is increasingly underfunded, struggling to operate its four hundred and thirteen parks, monuments, and recreation areas, Jarvis might wish for an advocate like Roosevelt. In a way, he got one: seated next to him was a Presidential impersonator. Joe Wiegand, a native of Elmhurst, Illinois, is a man of considerable mass—not flabby but stout, like Roosevelt. A college runner, “he grew into his present role,” according to his wife, who accompanies him on tour. Wiegand displays all the skill and presence of a professional actor, which he is not. His earliest inclination was to be a politician. After high school, where he served as student-council president, he completed an undergraduate degree in political science and studied international politics in Costa Rica, South Africa, Italy, and the Philippines. He twice ran for a seat in the Illinois legislature and lost. He ran other people’s campaigns while serving as a county commissioner. His friends always said that someday he’d be President, but by the millennium his life in politics had been less than fulfilling. Just then, on Christmas of 2001, his sister-in-law gifted him a copy of Edmund Morris’s “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.” Wiegand discovered a brilliant dead President who wasn’t using his lines anymore, and became him.” “There were five national parks when I became your President,” Wiegand said—no, shouted—from behind his bushy mustache and wire-rim spectacles to the reporters at the press conference. (He spends an hour a day in vigorous outdoor activity and sunlight to maintain a semblance of Roosevelt’s wind-burned complexion and acquired his Roosevelt voice, a particular rapid-fire cadence, from listening to online versions of Thomas Edison’s wax-cylinder recordings of the President.) “Speaker of the House Joe Cannon showed his opposition: ‘Not one red cent for scenery!’ he said. But the American people called for national parks, and I was able to deliver five more. We passed the Monuments and Antiquities Act, too, during my Presidency. When Congress wouldn’t declare the Grand Canyon a national park, I used the power of the Act to declare it a national monument!” At one-fifteen, after the press conference had ended, a reporter attempted to have his picture taken with his arm thrown over Wiegand’s shoulders. Wiegand, who never breaks character, disentangled himself and reorganized the reporter into a formal handshake typical of a turn-of-the-century photo op.” “The program started at 7 p.m., emceed by the actor Bill Pullman, who burst onstage in a rumpled sport coat, open-collared shirt, and an unruly gray beard grown for a Western he was about to shoot in Montana. “Let’s get this party started!” he yelled. He introduced a recorded greeting from Barack Obama on a large video screen. The speeches that followed were too many and an hour too long, but they had their moments. Sally Jewell, the Secretary of the Interior, studiously avoided any mention of the armed takeover of one of her bird refuges in Oregon last winter, or the language in the Republican platform calling for “the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to states.” But Steve Bullock, the Democratic governor of Montana, proclaimed that his state would not be party to any such embezzlement, which brought the audience to its feet. Wiegand made a short speech saying how pleased he was that his arch was still standing. “Bully!” he yelled, grinning widely, then pumped his fist and stalked offstage.”"

Jordan Fisher Smith

The New Yorker

"Teddy Roosevelt reprisor Joe Wiegand visited Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, where I serve as chair of the history department. Joe provided an exceptional degree of authenticity, depth, flexibility, and energy in his reprisal of TR. Throughout his over 10 hours on campus, Joe was engaging large groups, small groups, and individuals in a highly effective manner. His reprisal was far beyond any sort of scripted presentation and far beyond what I expected. Rather, he deftly and tirelessly responded to the environment around him by relating Teddy Roosevelt to local history and even subtly to current events. Without exception, I received only wildly enthusiastic comments from both students and faculty in response to his visit."

Clay Bailey, Ph.D.

History Department Chair

"Joe Wiegand’s appearance as Theodore Roosevelt at our annual Leadership Training Conference was truly the highlight of our conference. His adaptation of the presentation to meet the needs and specific circumstances of our conference was outstanding. TR Joe entertained our attendees with five different presentations; they varied in length and in content, but each was just perfect for the setting. The time that Joe put into preparing for his presentations was apparent in the relevance of the information we received from him. Theodore Roosevelt truly came alive for each of us. We each found at least one principle or a precept of this remarkable man that we could apply to our individual lives. Having Joe present President Roosevelt to us was an amazing experience."

Kenda Bartlett

National Field Director

"Your work with us was simply outstanding and your portrayal of TR is spot-on perfect!"

Dale Miller

Major Gift Officer

"As a former history teacher and a TR enthusiast, I greatly looked forward to your show and knew it would be good, but I was amazed at how good you actually were! It was as if McCullough and Morris books were brought to life before my eyes. Well Done! "


2011 Audience Member