Call it the “Jefferson Conundrum.”

Hedy Weiss at the Chicago Sun-Times has an excellent examination of Monticello…

Call it the “Jefferson conundrum.” And the issue is this: How could Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Father of this country who, at the age of 33, penned the Declaration of Independence (a document that declared “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”) also spend his life as the owner of several plantations in Virginia that were worked by hundreds of slaves?

Some historians have criticized the musical [“Hamilton] for what they consider to be an idealized depiction of Hamilton (who was by no means an abolitionist) and a vilification of Jefferson. Now, in his play, “Monticello,” which opens Aug. 6 in a world premiere production by Aurora Theatre Works Inc., Thomas Geoghegan, the distinguished Chicago labor lawyer and author with a longtime passion for theater, tries to come to terms with all the contradictions embodied by Jefferson in what is something of a fantasia rooted in fact.

And playing opposite Jefferson is none other than Edgar Allan Poe, the poet and short story writer known as a master of the macabre and an inventor of detective fiction.

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