The New Jewish Theatre will perform Gloria: A Life at the Wool Studio Theatre from June 1 to June 18. Written by acclaimed playwright Emily Mann, with guidance and participation from Gloria Steinem herself, Gloria: A Life explores the iconic feminist’s legacy. Decades after Gloria Steinem began raising her voice for equality and championing the voices of others, her vision is as urgent as ever. This play embodies Steinem’s philosophy that conversation is a catalyst for change as it celebrates one of the most inspiring women of our time.
Sharon Hunter, the director, says she is honored to lead the production. “As our country continues to struggle with painful questions about race relations, reproductive rights and gender equality, Gloria’s leadership continues to inspire many to take up this quest for freedom,” Hunter said. “My hope is that our production will encourage men and women to rally their collective voices and carry on her work.”
In a unique and interactive take, Act II of this play is actually a “talking circle.” After telling Gloria’s story in Act I, the actors will begin a discussion. At several performances, a local “Guest Responder” will launch the talking circle by sharing their own story of breaking barriers or simply responding to the play. This gives an opportunity for the audience to learn from each other, as, according to Gloria this “is the way we discover we’re not crazy and we’re not alone.”
The New Jewish Theatre’s cast and crew will consist entirely of women. Led by director Hunter, this team includes Fallon Podrazik (Scenic Design), Michele Friedman Siler (Costume), Denisse Chavez (Lighting Design), Amanda Werre (Sound Design) and Katie Orr (Props).
Kirsten De Broux, returning to the New Jewish Theatre stage after appearing in 2022’s Laughter of the 23rd Floor, will lead as Gloria Steinem. She is joined by an ensemble of six actors: Kayla Ailee Bush, Sarah Gene Dowling, Chrissie Watkins, Lizi Watt, Summer Baer (Brighton Beach Memoirs, 2019), and Carmen Cecilia Retzer. They play a wide variety of roles, including fellow activists and icons Flo Kennedy, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Bella Abzug, Wilma Mankiller, and many more.
“I am thrilled to bring an all-female cast and creative team together for Gloria: A Life,” says Artistic Director of the New Jewish Theatre, Rebekah Scallet. “This play celebrates pioneering women fighting for equality in the workplace, the home, and the political arena, as well as to have control over their own bodies. The world of theatre is still very much male-dominated, especially in the fields of scenic, lighting, and sound design, so it’s wonderful to have this amazing group of talented women collaborating to tell this important story.”
Don’t miss Gloria: A Life at the J’s Wool Studio Theatre (2 Millstone Campus Drive, St. Louis, MO 63146), running June 1 to June 18. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Individual tickets are $27- $58. Tickets are available by phone at 314.442.3283 or online at newjewishtheatre.org.
ABOUT THE NEW JEWISH THEATRE:
The New Jewish Theatre is dedicated to exploring Jewish themes and celebrating Jewish writers while examining the full range of the human experience. We present universal work through a Jewish lens, using our productions to enrich lives, promote inclusivity, and build community.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.