ASHLAND - Five living history performers elicited laughter, surprise and applause Monday as they offered snippets of the performances they will give later this week as part of Ashland Chautauqua. 

Audience members at Monday's dress rehearsal marveled as scholar Brian Ellis portrayed John James Audubon and spoke about the migratory behavior of birds.

They sighed as they learned about the difficult childhood of performer and activist Josephine Baker from scholar Vernice Jackson.

They chuckled to hear scholar Annette Baldwin decry Americans' over-filled closets as she portrayed fashion designer Coco Chanel.

From Tuesday through Saturday, five living history performances will be presented at Myers Memorial Band Shell at Brookside Park. Each performance will begin at 8 p.m. and will be preceded by live musical performances at 7 p.m.

In case of inclement weather, performances may be moved indoors. Notice of location changes will be available by 4 p.m. at and by calling the hotline at 419-281-3018. 

In addition to Ellis, Jackson and Baldwin, scholar performers include Becky Stone as Maya Angelou and Doug Watson as Will Rogers. All five scholars will offer not only a major evening performance but also smaller daytime programs throughout the week. 

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New this year are three Coffee With the Scholars events at Downtown Perk Thursday through Saturday mornings. 

This week marks the 20th annual Ashland Chautauqua, and the event committee will mark the occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony and cake reception at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16. 

All events are free, but donations are accepted. 

A complete schedule of the week's events is below. 

Chautauqua Schedule