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Gloria: A Life

Don't miss this play.

Gloria: A Life is a play for everyone who cares about our world. Everyone who wants to learn about Gloria Steinem’s incredible life, be energized by her words, and work, even today. Gloria is 88 and still an activist. She calls herself a ‘hopeaholic’. The play is Gloria in her own words, sharing her life story. How she believed we can always do better, that we will, and we are all responsible to make it happen. She shares her story, the good and the difficult. How she first got fame by going undercover to write about being a Playboy Bunny and how she used that first fame to do good. She talks about her mother’s mental illness and how it impacted her life. She shares with us all the women who have influenced her life and the wonderful ensemble actors portray those women superbly. The play was written by the very talented Emily Mann and directed by the incredible Holly Twyford.

It is an evening in the theater for those of us who grew up with Gloria, and lived in her world for many years. It is also for all those growing up today who can learn from Gloria, and be energized to action by her life. Her words and those of the women who influenced her, both urge and demand our action to fight for our rights. Gloria is still fighting today, reminding us, all of us, both men and women of all ages, we lose if we don’t act.  Women may find more in this play than men, but it was clear all the men in the theater were as supportive of the message as the women, and recognized we need to be equal partners, if we are to make a better world for all. 

Mani Yangilmau, Sydney Lo, Debora Crabbe, Susan Lynskey, ErinWeaver, Sherri L. Edelen, and Awa Sal Seckain
Mani Yangilmau, Sydney Lo, Debora Crabbe, Susan Lynskey, ErinWeaver, Sherri L. Edelen, and Awa Sal Seckain  Photo by Ryan Maxwell Photography

The seven women in the cast were all great. Susan Lynskey as Gloria is brilliant. She holds the stage for the entire play, as she tells her story. Each of the ensemble cast portray the many influences on Gloria’s life. Those influences include Ruth Steinem, her mother; Florence ‘Flo’ Kennedy, Dorothy Pittman Hughes, Bella Abzug and Wilma Mankiller, among others.  I was fortunate to have worked for, and with, Bella Abzug, and through her met some of those amazing women. I first met Gloria Steinem in the early 70s as she was starting Ms. Magazine. It was incredible to meet her again, as she was at Theater J for the opening of the play, and get to say hello and tell her how much her work has influenced my life. The actor who plays Bella is Sherri L. Edelen. She has all Bella’s mannerisms down to a T. She is just great to watch in all the roles she plays, as are all the ensemble cast including; Debora Crabbe, Sydney Lo, Awa Sal Secka, Erin Weaver and Mani Yangilmau.

Susan Lynskey as Gloria Steinem and Debora Crabbe as Dorothy Pitman Hughes
Susan Lynskey as Gloria Steinem and Debora Crabbe as Dorothy Pitman Hughes  Photo by Ryan Maxwell Photography.

The creative team for this play is also great beginning with Casting Director, Jenna Place. Then there is Set Design, Paige Hathaway; Lighting Design, Colin K. Bills; Sound Design, Sarah O’Halloran and Costume Design, Mayenda Kulemeka. 

As Theater J says, “The play is a celebration of human connection. Five decades after Gloria Steinem began raising her voice and championing the voices of others, her call for equality is as urgent as ever. The first act tells her story, and the second, which is fifteen minutes, invites the audience to share their own.”  

Again, don’t miss Gloria: A Life. You will be energized to work to make everyone’s life better. It will be at Theater J until April 2nd.