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“What the Constitution Means to Me” To Launch National Tour in 2020


Heidi Schreck in “What the Constitution Means to Me”
(Photo: Joan Marcus)

The Tony Award-nominated play, written by Heidi Schreck, will be hitting the country starting at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles (12 January–16 February 2020).

Following the launch in Los Angeles, the tour will play 40 weeks in 22 cities including Charlotte, Hartford, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with more to be announced.

As a fifteen-year-old, 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.

While the show is going on tour, it appears that Schreck, with possibly few exceptions, will not be heading the cast. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, someone will play Heidi Schreck, first as an optimistic 15-year-old and then as a disillusioned 47-year-old. This actress also will find a moment to pause the play, address the audience directly as herself (not Heidi Schreck), and share her own powerful story related to Constitutional rights. In addition, the touring production may cast a local debater, a role involved in the third act, for many of its lengthier stops. 

“I think there’s a great opportunity here in that someone can, at some point in the show, say, ‘I have my own experience with this as well,’” director Oliver Butler said. “I hope it’s an additional layer of meta theater in a piece about becoming one’s true self. If it’s true that other people doing the role is both moving for that person and other people seeing it, and that it doesn’t hinge solely on Schreck telling her story herself, that’s just great added value for the play.”

“When I set out to adapt my personal history with the Constitution into a play, I could never have anticipated how widely it would resonate with audiences,” said Schreck, in a statement. “I’ve been deeply moved by the stories audience members have shared with me in reaction to the play, so it’s an honor to have the opportunity to share the piece with audiences nationwide. I’m especially excited to work with Oliver to invite a new performer into the leading role, which open up its perspective further and allow it to remain a vital, living piece of theater.”

The show is currently running through August 24 at the Helen Hays Theatre. All venues, dates and casting for the tour will be announced at a later date.

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