New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here

Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins Comes To Cape May Stage

By Gary Wien

originally published: 05/20/2015

Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins Comes To Cape May StageMolly Ivins was a no-holds-barred newspaper columnist from Texas who had a widely read syndicated column and helped inspire a generation of female journalists.  Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins celebrates this rowdy satirist and her courage and tenacity.  

Written by Margaret (pictured on the right) and Allison Engel (pictured on the left) — two sisters who themselves have had illustrious careers in journalism — the play has its New Jersey Premiere at Cape May Stage.  The production, directed by Marlena Lustik and starring Georgette Reilly Timoney as Molly Ivins, runs May 20 through June 12.

New Jersey Stage spoke with the playwrights about the play and Molly’s place in history.

Molly Ivins has often been compared to Mark Twain.  Did you originally envision this play as something akin to the work that Hal Holbrook did with his Twain shows?  Allison: In the early planning, we did. Molly was so prolific on a variety of subjects that we originally thought of an anecdote-driven performance in front of a curtain on the Hal Holbrook model. But we quickly jettisoned that idea, and decided to write a real play that told the audience more about her life.

Does her Texas upbringing add a certain flair for the stage as well?  Peggy: Absolutely. Molly was well educated and spoke three languages, but her fourth language was Texas-isms. She loved the colorful expressions down-to-earth Texans use. They were a part of her writing and speaking.

Tell me about the play.  Peggy: The play is set in “the suggestion of a newsroom past its prime.” The audience sees Molly struggling to write a column and, as a way of avoiding writing, she looks at events in her life and career. There are some of her well-known lines in the play, but it is not a hit parade. There are plenty of laughs in the play, as she was a genuinely funny writer and storyteller, but she used laughter as a way to get people to listen to the serious topics she felt passionately about – and we wanted the play to reflect that.



The article continues after this ad

 


Does the play take the audience inside the world of journalists? Peggy: There isn’t a surplus of “inside baseball” information about journalism in the play. But as Molly looks at her life in newspapers, it is a chance to look back at newspapers themselves and at a time that will not come again. All of us who lived the excitement, sense of purpose, deadline pressure and sheer wonder of observing the parade of life that is the newsroom of a daily newspaper are mourning their decline. The play reflects that.

Both of you have accomplished writing careers, but this was your first attempt at a play.  What led you to choose the theatre to tell this story?   Allison: We both have had a lifelong love of theater, thanks primarily to our father, who earned an MA in playwriting from Columbia and who took us to plays from the time we were small. He worked for Helen Hayes at her theatre in Nyack, N.Y. I have an MA in screenwriting from the University of Southern California and when I lived in Iowa was the president of the board and head of play selection for the Des Moines Playhouse, one of the country’s largest and oldest community theaters. Peggy has been on the Theatre Washington/Helen Hayes board for years in Washington, D.C., and also acted in college theater productions.

Did either or both of you know Molly personally? Peggy: I had met Molly a few times at journalism conferences, but did not know her as a friend. She and I were scheduled to be on a panel together in April 2007 and she died in January of that year.  

Was she an inspiration for you as a female journalist? Allison: Yes. Peggy and I both started our journalism careers in the early 70s, a few years behind Molly, and we read her columns avidly. She was a big deal national columnist whose words were quoted regularly. We looked up to her.

In your opinion, why is Molly Ivins important to history? Allison: Molly was a liberal (and proud of it) and also a great patriot who believed in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. She felt that conservatives and the religious right were claiming to have an exclusive hold on patriotism. Molly’s great gift was showing that dissent can be patriotic. She also is important to women, as she was one of few female nationally syndicated political columnists. She was so prescient, and she did copious original research, rather than simply weighing in on the topic of the day. And she did it all from Austin, far away from the NY-Washington political axis.

Photo by Mark Berndt





For more by this author, click here






Holmdel Theatre Company Presents 'ART'
(HOLMDEL, NJ) – The Holmdel Theatre Company (HTC) will present 6 performances of Yasmina Reza’s ‘ART’  from December 7th through December 16th. Translated from French by Christopher Hampton, the play tells the story of what happens when Serge buys an expensive painting, and the reactions of his two closest friends, Marc and Yvan, to his purchase. As what begins as a discussion about the quality of the painting that Serge has purchased quickly devolves into petty jabs and personal attacks, the three men border on destroying their friendships.
Pebble Players Presents "Heathers, the Musical: High School Edition"
(SUMMIT, NJ) -- Celebrating their 10th season, Pebble Players has been entertaining Summit residents and audiences from surrounding towns with sophisticated Off-Broadway quality performances. The 2018 Season opens with "Heathers The Musical: High School Edition," directed by Jayne Myers and choreographed by Jaimie Woodruff.  Performances are Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17 at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 18 at 2:00pm. 
NJPAC Presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies from Thursday, March 21, 2019 - Saturday, March 23, 2019. The high-style music of “The Duke” is the heart and soul of this 1981 Tony-winning Broadway hit, directed with dazzle by André De Shields (The Wiz). Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington, re-creates the original show’s elegant dancing and tapping as choreographer.
Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater present Teahouse by Lao She
(PRINCETON, NJ) --Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University will present Teahouse by Lao She on November 16, 17 and 18 at 8:00pm and November 17 at 2:00pm in the Donald G. Drapkin Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. Teahouse is considered a masterpiece of contemporary Chinese theater, spanning 50 years in modern Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the Republican Revolution to the birth of the People’s Republic, bringing together over sixty characters who represent all walks of life. The production is directed by senior Changshuo Liu.
Axelrod's Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts Program Presents "Peter Pan"
(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ) --  A family musical that’s perfect for the holiday season, “Peter Pan” is flying onto the Axelrod stage December 8-16. Axelrod’s award-winning Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts program presents one of Broadway’s timeless classics in a fully staged production directed by Lisa Goldfarb with musical direction by Randy Hurst and choreography by Wendy Roman.  


Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s Friday, October 26, 2018, and the Broadway’s Next H!T Musical cast is just about ready to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.
The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage
Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.
See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!
Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!
"It's a Blast!" Go See Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary Tour NOW! at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino!
The five-time Tony award-nominated Broadway musical, Rock of Ages, returns to the stage with a 10th Anniversary Tour at Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino! Performed in the venue’s ultra-modern Sound Waves theater, Rock of Ages runs from now until November 4, 2018.
There's One In Every Family: "Charley's Aunt" at The Shakespeare Theatre
On stage now through November 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, “Charley’s Aunt” is described as “part Oscar Wilde, part ‘Fawlty Towers,’ with a dash of South American spice!” This side-splitting British farce from 1892 has drag, mistaken identity, romance and plenty of physical comedy. Join Jesse and Dave at rehearsals in Florham Park to hear from the cast and director what makes this such a hilarious and enduring show.






Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.