Historical Portrayal: Billy Sunday
As part of Lakeside’s Living History Series, David Burke will portray Billy Sunday in Hoover Auditorium Monday, July 24 at 1:30 p.m.
Billy Sunday was one of the best-known evangelists of late 19th- and early 20th-century America. Hundreds of thousands heard Sunday deliver the verbatim testimony of his conversion from famous baseball player to sinner saved by Jesus Christ. The “battle with booze” is a central theme of his story and of Sunday’s entire career.
After enacting this animated story-sermon as “Billy Sunday,” actor David Burke presents notable facts, conflicts and achievements of the storied evangelist, friend of presidents and laborers, who is said to have spoken before more people than any other human being to that point in history.
David Burke’s 45-year career in theatre includes over 50 produced titles as playwright and 40 roles as an actor. He has played diverse characters ranging from Romeo to Petruchio and from Hamlet to Billy Sunday.
After finishing his PhD in playwriting from Southern Illinois University in 1994, Burke served as Head of Performance Studies at Bob Jones University for 18 years and then as Head of Speech Communication and Theatre at Greenville Technical College until retiring in 2022.
One of his dissertation dramas was the screenplay for MILLTOWN PRIDE, a feature film produced in 2011, that depicts textile baseball leagues of the 1920s and includes a cameo of Billy Sunday, delivering a sermon, as portrayed by Burke.