What the Constitution Means to Me BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • NY TIMES

  • DEADLINE

  • VARIETY

  • HR

  • TIME OUT

Opening Night:
March 31, 2019
Closing:
July 21, 2019

Theater: Helen Hayes Theatre / 240 West 44th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Direct from its revolutionary Off-Broadway run, WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME has arrived on Broadway for a limited engagement. This boundary-breaking play breathes new life into our Constitution and imagines how it will shape the next generation of American women.

Fifteen-year-old Heidi Schreck earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. Now, the Obie Award winner recalls her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women in her own family and the founding document that dictated their rights and citizenship. This hilarious, hopeful and "achingly human" (Exeunt Magazine) exploration features Schreck alongside Mike Iveson, Rosdely Ciprian and Thursday Williams and is directed by Obie Award winner Oliver Butler.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF What the Constitution Means to Me

    Review: Can a Play Make the Constitution Great Again?

    Jesse Green

    March 31, 2019: Heidi Schreck’s “What the Constitution Means to Me,” which opened on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theater on Sunday, is nothing less than a chronicle of the legal subjugation of women by men, as experienced in the day-to-day injustices of living while female and in the foundational American document that offers paltry recourse. But if “What the Constitution Means to Me” is nothing less than that, it is also very much more. It is a tragedy told as a comedy, a work of inspired protest, a slyly crafted piece of persuasion and a tangible contribution to the change it seeks. It is not just the best play to open on Broadway so far this season, but also the most important.

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF What the Constitution Means to Me

    ‘What The Constitution Means To Me’ Broadway Review: Heidi Schreck’s Brilliant Lesson In Life & Civics

    Greg Evans

    March 31, 2019: The impulse to tear down and start over, as ancient as we are, occasionally makes a bigger noise of itself than usual. World War I, that was a loud one. Sacco and Vanzetti, loud. The Sex Pistols, really loud. The noise was so loud in 2016 it handed the earth’s most important job to a reality TV host who’d distilled the impulse into a catchphrase, and just might get so loud in 2020 that “You’re Fired!” comes back to haunt him. All of which is to say, Heidi Schreck has crazy perfect timing. A playwright and performer whose indelible, subversive and audaciously funny What The Constitution Means To Me opens tonight on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre, Schreck has carried a particular true-life story within her for 30-odd years, and she springs it on us when we need it most.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF What the Constitution Means to Me

    Broadway Review: ‘What The Constitution Means To Me’

    Marilyn Stasio

    March 31, 2019: Call it stealth theater. In the disarming introduction to her play “What the Constitution Means to Me,” Heidi Schreck holds forth in an American Legion hall in her hometown of Wenatchee, Wash., an “abortion-free zone” where her 15-year-old self is competing in the regional semifinals of a Legion oratory contest. The debate topic, of course, is what the Constitution means in the life of a high school girl from Wenatchee, Wash., in 1989. Her mother, she tells us, managed to preserve (and treasure) the hunk of hair she cut off in high school. But for some reason, she threw out her daughter’s prize-winning speech, leaving Schreck no choice but to recreate a version of the talk she gave thirty years ago, on a civic stage very like the one designed for Broadway by Rachel Hauck. (Highly waxed floor, a showy display of flags and a photo gallery of all-male worthies.) The engaging writer-performer is all smiles and so are we, anticipating a naive speech from a bright high school girl about her personal appreciation of the U.S. Constitution. But by the end of the show, we’ve been stirred — and challenged — by her penetrating insights into that document. This is not a spoiler, but a promise.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF What the Constitution Means to Me

    'What the Constitution Means to Me': Theater Review

    David Rooney

    March 31, 2019: Lots of great plays acquire timeliness as their themes circle around again to find fresh echoes in the sociopolitical cycle — think Shakespeare, Shaw, Miller. But given the years of development usually involved, few new works for the stage are as instantly, trenchantly timely as writer-performer Heidi Schreck's sui generis memoir What the Constitution Means to Me. The seed idea for this deceptively freewheeling yet ingeniously structured piece — an impassioned civics debate illuminated by intense personal reflection that embraces both anguish and hope — was first hatched 20 or so years ago, with actual work on the play beginning some 10 years later. But its arrival right now seems almost a direct response to a moment in which women's voices demand to be heard with an urgency not felt since second-wave feminism, and when so many basic rights of Democracy appear under threat. The temporal convergence is uncanny.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF What the Constitution Means to Me

    What the Constitution Means to Me

    Helen Shaw

    March 31, 2019: There’s a sense of rightness—a final puzzle piece fitting into place, a key clicking into a lock—about Heidi Schreck’s quasi-solo play What the Constitution Means to Me moving to Broadway. It has always been about rhetoric and amplifying women’s voices; it’s the rare indie theater piece that doesn’t require intimacy. Does theater matter? Is it necessary? Sometimes our razzle-dazzled hearts aren’t sure. But here is something that every citizen must see: It’s theater in the old sense, the Greek sense, a place where civic society can come together and do its thinking and fixing and planning. Schreck starts her address to us at lightning speed in a scene-setting introduction, telling us that, when she was 15, she participated in American Legion oratory contests, eventually dominating the vet-sponsored speech-giving circuit enough to pay for college. With the aid of an American Legion moderator (drolly played by Mike Iveson, in oversize 1980s pants), Schreck re-creates her “terrifyingly turned-on” younger self, whose enthusiasms included Patrick Swayze, witchcraft and civic responsibility. “The Constitution…is a living, warm-blooded, steamy document!” she cries, and for the first time in your life you imagine the Constitution with its shirt off.

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