Ken Franklin Opens the Curtain on Showboat

franklinBy Sue Moore

Dr. Ken Franklin is a transplant who stayed and grew once he got to Vicksburg as a family physician for Family Doctors of Vicksburg in 2002. It didn’t take long for him to get involved with his church as a lay minister, the South County Players as an actor and the Vicksburg Rotary Club Showboat.

He was given little choice about the Showboat participation when Dr. Lloyd Appell, a colleague, heard him sing in the church choir and insisted he become a chorus member of the Showboat in 2003. He has been performing on stage ever since. He was asked to join the script committee and soon took over the reins as director in 2007.

“I started acting when I won a Best Supporting Actor award in middle school and I’ve been hooked on performing ever since,” Franklin said. “I played a genie who came out of a chamber pot instead of a lamp.” His rendition of Teddy Roosevelt in the 2008 Showboat has become a classic, since he fairly resembles the 26th president of the United States. He was even asked to reprise that role for the Vicksburg Historical Society in several hour-long presentations in 2012 and 2013. He studied the many biographies of Roosevelt, and on stage became TR personified.

As director of the Showboat, Franklin has introduced more new skits and provided many of the boat’s crew with speaking parts that they excel in. The timing and fast-paced presentations have become a trademark of his directing talent. “The script committee deserves most of the credit. The ideas that come from interacting with each other are truly mind-blowing.”

His medical training came after graduating from Michigan State University and Army ROTC. He attended the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine from 1977-1981, followed by specialty training in Family Medicine. He then practiced at various army posts before retiring as a Colonel and joining Family Doctors of Vicksburg.

Franklin will be retiring from medical practice at the end of 2016 “to become a full-time disciple,” as he puts it. “I intend to remain in Vicksburg–the home town I had to move 36 times to find. I also hope to contribute to the Showboat for years to come.”

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