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New Play About Gloria Steinem to Open Off Broadway in October

New Play About Gloria Steinem to Open Off Broadway in October


Gloria Steinem has been the subject of biographies, documentaries, a comic book and two films that are in the works. And now she’s going to be portrayed onstage.

The playwright Emily Mann (“Having Our Say”), the director Diane Paulus (“Waitress”) and the producer Daryl Roth (“Kinky Boots”) are collaborating on a drama that will open Off Broadway in October. The play, “Gloria: A Life,” will have an all-female creative team and an all-female producing team.

The play, which is being developed with Ms. Steinem’s cooperation, will have an unusual structure: The first act will be a six-character bioplay about her life and career as a feminist writer and activist; the second act will be a facilitated “talking circle” that includes the audience and a moderator.

“I hope people will tell their own stories and make connections with other people in the room, with ideas, with actions they can take the next day and the next,” said Ms. Steinem, who is expected to lead some of the conversations herself. “I do think there is now more energy and activism than I have seen in my lifetime.”

The play is to begin previews Oct. 2 and to open Oct. 18 at the Daryl Roth Theater in Union Square. There has been one developmental workshop already, and there will be one more before rehearsals begin.

Among the other women’s movement leaders depicted in the play are Bella Abzug, Flo Kennedy, and Dorothy Pitman Hughes. The cast has not yet been chosen.

Ms. Roth said there have been discussions about doing a play about Ms. Steinem’s life for some years — at one point, there was talk that Ms. Steinem might play herself in a one-woman show — but that the timing now seems right. “We’re living at a time when we all need to be, in our own way, activists — to speak up, and to be willing to have those conversations that lead us to change,” she said. “We have to be open to an exchange of ideas that makes a better world, and Gloria exemplifies that.”

The two film projects in the works about Ms. Steinem include “My Life on the Road,” a biopic directed by Julie Taymor, written by Sarah Ruhl, and starring Julianne Moore, as well as “An Uncivil War,” about the battle over the Equal Rights Amendment, directed by Dee Rees and starring Carey Mulligan.



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