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




Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station Asbury Music. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.



For more by this author, click here




More Articles You Might Like

The Simon & Garfunkel Story Comes To The Basie On January 23
The Simon & Garfunkel Story Comes To The Basie On January 23
Dreamcatcher To Hold Junior Summer Theatre Program In July
Dreamcatcher To Hold Junior Summer Theatre Program In July
Inside The 2019 Princeton Festival
Inside The 2019 Princeton Festival
"Magic Tree House Showtime With Shakespeare" - A New Hip Hop Musical To Come To NJPAC
"Magic Tree House Showtime With Shakespeare" - A New Hip Hop Musical To Come To NJPAC
State Theatre New Jersey presents  John Leguizamo’s  Latin History for Morons
State Theatre New Jersey presents John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons
"Too Heavy For Your Pocket" To Close Out The Season At George Street Playhouse
"Too Heavy For Your Pocket" To Close Out The Season At George Street Playhouse






Event calendar
Sunday, May 19, 2019


MUSIC

Believe: A Fundraiser Benefit for Marilyn's Place @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 4:00pm

Tash Sultana @ The Stone Pony Summer Stage, Asbury Park - 6:00pm

Will Martin Sings Dean Martin @ Avenel Performing Arts Center, Avenel - 3:00pm

MICHAEL BOLTON @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

Band Together for Veterans @ Bar Anticipation, Lake Como - 1:00pm

ART OF THE DOUBLE CONCERTO - NEW JERSEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 3:00pm

Carmina Burana New Jersey Youth Symphony 40th Anniversary Concert @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 3:00pm

Derek Bermel's Mango Suite @ Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton - 4:00pm

Laurie Berkner, Solo @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 3:00pm

Grace Morrison at Riverside!! @ Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme, Succasunna - 4:00pm

The Bronx Wanderers @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 5:00pm and 8:00pm







THEATRE

Frost/Nixon @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 2:00pm

Surfing My DNA @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Camelot @ Algonquin Arts Theatre, Manasquan - 3:00pm

She Loves Me! @ The Summit Playhouse, Summit - 2:00pm

Morir Sonyando @ Passage Theatre Company, Trenton - 3:00pm

Rapunzel @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 1:30pm and 3:30pm

MET Encore: Dialogues des Carmelites @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 1:00pm


DANCE

Roxey Ballet Presents Cinderella @ The College Of New Jersey’s Kendall Main Stage Theater, Ewing - 2:00pm

Kick Dance Studios presents I LOVE the 90s @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 1:00pm


KIDS

THE SLEEPING BEAUTY @ Brook Arts Center, Bound Brook - 2:00pm

Double Dare Live @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 1:00pm and 7:00pm


SPIRITUAL

Transform Your Thoughts & Heal Yourself Spiritually @ 10 Colonial Court, Hainesport, NJ 08036, Hainesport - 1:30pm

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2019 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.