TECUMSEH

Call for up-to-date admission, tour and buffet prices.
*Not recommended for children age 6 or under.


Photo by Joe Murray

Witness the epic life story of the legendary Shawnee leader as he struggles to unite the various tribes in an effort to drive the encroaching whites from their sacred homelands in the Ohio country during the late 1700’s.   

The huge, outdoor stages of the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre afford the audience a unique viewing experience.  You will sit beneath the stars in the beautiful Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre as sheer spectacle surrounds you with a herd of galloping horses, live military cannon in action, and the most dazzling battle sequences offered on the American stage. 

This professionally produced outdoor drama is written by seven-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and Emmy recipient, Allan W. Eckert.  The script has been acclaimed as the best of its kind with the outdoor drama industry and continues to fascinate thousands each summer. 

Over 2.3 million visitors have witnessed this great outdoor drama, making it the most popular of its kind in the State of Ohio and the entire Mid-Western United States. 

Enjoy an exciting “Behind-the-Scenes” Tour with cast members as your tour guides.  The stuntmen of TECUMSEH! give a dazzling display of stage-combat and flintlock firing, then pitch headfirst from a twenty-one foot cliff, get up, and explain how they did it.  The tours last approximately one hour and along with detailed historical information also include demonstrations of weaponry, stunts, and make-up as well as explanations regarding communication systems and stage design.  Tours are offered at 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM. 

The Tecumseh Terrace Buffet features a Buffet Dinner of wholesome American food.  Served from 4:30 PM until 7:30 PM, the menu includes Broaster Fired Chicken, baked ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn, salad bar, bakery rolls, dessert includes baked apple streusel and chocolate pudding, coffee and soft drinks.  Cash, MasterCard and Visa accepted at the buffet.  Snacks, including pizza, popcorn, sweets, and soft drinks are available at the concession stand from 4:00 PM through intermission. 

Stroll through our mini-museum and enjoy the displays of prehistoric Indian artifacts from the Scioto Valley.  In cooperation with the Ohio Historical Society, this exhibit is offered Free of charge, Monday – Saturday, from 5:00 PM to 7:45 PM. 

Visit our Mountain Gallery Gift Shop where you can find many unique and popular gifts.  Selections include jewelry, pottery, T-shirts and books to serve as souvenirs of your evening at TECUMSEH! 

During Meet and Greet, immediately following the performance, cast members will assemble in the pavilion area for autographs and photographs.  This is the perfect opportunity for you to talk to the actors one-on-one!

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Excerpt from past edition of OhioTraveler

TECUMSEH 

If you’re a connoisseur of action staged in grand scale, you’ll find the performance that awaits you in Chillicothe this summer irresistible. With its dose of history, “Tecumseh” is one of the most mesmerizing dramas in the nation. 

And there is more than the visual aspects of the theatrics surrounding you. You’ll feel the heat from the flames, the concussion of the cannons, and the tremble of the earth as armies of men and horses in realistic battle sequences thunder across the huge Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheater stage.   

Ohio history abounds with Indian lore and no one illuminates the annals more than Tecumseh. Even though he was the enduring leader of native defiance intended to block early American progress, his mythology evolved into the status of folk hero.  

The U.S. Navy has named four war ships after him, and towns bear his name in half a dozen states. The famous Union General, William Tecumseh Sherman was named because his father had “caught a fancy for the great Chief of the Shawnees.”  

There is even a company that has branded a small gasoline engine in his honor. That’s not as trivial as it sounds. The trade name was meant to symbolize integrity, strength, and dependability.  Tecumseh was all of that and more.  

Indian birth records of that era are sketchy, but indicate Tecumseh was born in March 1768 in the vicinity of Springfield, Ohio—present day Clark County. 

History is quite detailed however in documenting his lifelong stand against the encroachment of white settlers on what he determined to be Indian land. When other tribes signed a treaty passing ownership of most of Ohio’s land to the United States Government, Tecumseh refused. He believed the land belonged to all Indians, not a single tribe, and could not be sold unless agreed upon by everyone. 

His resistance to frontier expansion resulted in clashes with first the Colonials and later the new-formed U.S. Army—ultimately elevating him to Chief of the Shawnees by the early 1800’s. 

Described as tall, straight, and lean with an imposing presence, he was as gifted an orator as he was a warrior, and used his flair to influence disparate tribes to unite in a confederacy to resist pioneer advancement in the Northwest Territory.  

He traveled widely and was hundreds of miles south conferring with the Creeks, when in 1811 future president William Henry Harrison at the famous battle of Tippecanoe defeated his brother. The defeat was a turning point in his confederacy.  Various tribal Chieftains recognized the futility and began to break away, but Tecumseh’s vision of a United Indian Nation never wavered. 

In the War of 1812, he sided with the British, receiving the rank (disputed by some historians) of Brigadier General, and backed the forces that overran Detroit.   Although there was division over his view of Indian land rights, he won respect of the opposition not only for his bravery in battle, but for compassion and tolerance. He always honored his word, and he refused to torture prisoners—as was the Indian custom.  It is claimed that after the battle of Detroit, it was Tecumseh who prevented a massacre of captured American soldiers. 

Victory was fleeting, however. With Admiral Perry’s decisive triumphs on Lake Erie, the British retreated into what is now Ontario, Canada. Tecumseh agreed to fight rear guard actions, but would backpedal only so far. On October 5, 1813 he took a stand with barely halfhearted support of the British who persisted in withdrawal. In the Battle of the Thames it was again William Henry Harrison who overwhelmed the Indian/British coalition, which resulted in Tecumseh’s death and the virtual end of native resistance in the new territory. 

This is a story best told with the vividness and dimensions of a natural arena where more than a hundred people plus animals and large artillery come together to form the narrative of epic pioneer conflict. 

In its 38th season, more than two and one-half million people have seen this production. The main characters are professional actors, many of whom return to Sugarloaf Mountain to perform year after year. 

You will be able to see the performance from now until September 4, Monday thru Saturday, beginning at 8 p.m.—but there is much to enjoy before the play even starts. 

There is a gift shop, of course, but you’ll better appreciate the stage performance after a tour through the museum, which displays Scioto Valley Indian artifacts of that era.  

Almost as popular as the drama itself is the behind-the-scenes-tour where cast members serve as your guides. They will give you an up-close demonstration of makeup, stage combat and weaponry. Stuntmen will fake battlefield causalities, plummeting headlong off a 20-foot cliff, and then explain how it is done. The tours last an hour and are offered at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. 

This show goes until 10:45 p.m., and though there is no way to avoid unforeseen elements of weather, you can satisfy your appetite for a contented viewing. Between 4:30-7:30 p.m. there is a buffet dinner of wholesome American food offered under a covered terrace that overlooks southern Ohio’s natural beauty. Afterwards, the cast members line up in the pavilion where you can meet them for autographs and photos. 

One word of caution: Some scenes of the tragedy are so realistic that it is not recommended for children age 6 or under. 

All seats are reserved.  Wampum for the required advance tickets is $22.95 adults and $15.95 children. “Tecumseh” with its historical significance and outstanding stage drama will reverberate in your memory long after the performance. 

For information, call 866-775-0700 or locally, 740-775-0700 or go to www.tecumsehdrama.org.          

By Robert Carpenter