Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Broadway World


Last year’s Broadway premiere of the show was greeted with rousing acclamation and three Tony nominations (two for best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play and one for best scenic design). It is quite a success story for Selina Fillinger whose debut as a playwright focuses on one crazy madcap day in the White House.

As a farcical paean to women empowerment, it is totally in line with the kind of barbsappropriately directed these days at the patriarchy and, in particular, at the male political leadership that we’ve come to know and detest.

Fillinger’s concept is a good one, echoing Margaret Thatcher’s proposition that “if you want something done, ask a woman.”

There were laughs aplenty among the opening weekend audience but, alas, not on the part of those who, perhaps because of a gap in generational perspectives and tastes, found the stream of vulgarities and spitting up of foreign substances too over-the-top. Frankly, the warning about mature themes and very strong language is a bit of an understatement.

Over-the-top applies...to the performances of a cast, each of whom brings impressive credentials to the stage and accentuates the marvelous range of womanhood: Dolores Mendoza as the take-control, intense, and acerbic chief of staff. Emily Mohney as Stephanie, the Oval’s goofy, self-effacing, aspiring secretary who is desperate to retain her position. Lauren McKay as Bernadette, the dumbass’s quirky sister who is on probation for dealing and yet looking for a pardon. Lydia Corbin as the self-possessed, headstrong, and combat-ready First Lady. Deatra Branston as a reporter stuck between her new mom duties and her quest for a scoop. And Alison Campbell, in a standout performance as Dusty, the feisty, wisely irreverent, and pregnant Presidential mistress.