WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME

Critics

LemonMeter

93 %

Reviews: 20

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Direct from Broadway, where it received the 2019 Tony® nomination for Best Play, What the Constitution Means to Me arrives at the Taper for a limited engagement. This boundary-breaking play breathes new life into our Constitution and imagines how it will shape the next generation of American women. Fifteen-year-old Heidi 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.

Reviews

Avatar

I agree with McNulty’s assessment of Shreck and the subject matter. Caution is required for those who have experienced sexual violence: there is reference to it in the play, and it could be triggery for some. But, alas, how our constitutions protects or fails to protect those subject to violence should be even more reason for people to vote. [...] This is a show every American — or anyone wanting to understand the Constitution — should see

sweet - Daniel Faigin - Observations Along the Road - ...read full review


Avatar

If you find yourself attending only one stage production this year, let this be the one.

sweet - Sarah A. Spitz - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


Avatar

Directed with a firm hand by Oliver Butler, who manages to tell Schreck’s story through her memories and then in real time, WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME is highly effective and involving.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

The political and ideological battles that have been, and still are, fought over these constitutional issues give the show its relevance; personal touches (such as Schreck revealing that she herself had an abortion) humanize it as well, making the abstract real. Flashes of wit and humor also help to enliven things.

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

What Ms. Schrek's play brilliantly does is make the constitution personal. She reminds us of its profound limitations and its greatest strengths. She takes the distant language of amendments and places them, metaphorically and insightfully, on her own life, on her own body. Abstract ideas and distant histories become tangible and present...

You need to go see this show. You need to take your daughters (and your sons) to see this show. You'll walk out with a more personal relationship to our constitution and that's something we could all use right now.

sweet - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW - ...read full review


Leigh Kennicott

With yet another import from Broadway on the Mark Tabor stage, it is interesting to review the rhetoric about the play against the actual product. Heidi Schreck’s play does not disappoint. Her tight, 90-minute plus monologue (with help from original cast, Mike Iveson) captivates for its very personal take on a document that we all (Mostly) take for granted.

But, if this discussion is not enough, the performance ends with a “mock” debate whether the constitution should be abolished, featuring 15-year old Rosdely Ciprian. And, wait! There’s more! Since the previous audience had submitted questions to the debaters (along the lines of “what is your pet’s name”). We must sit and wait through several of them before we are finally released. Now clocking in at a good two hours without an intermission, the evening ends, if you will excuse the plagiarism, “not with a bang, but a whimper.”

sweet-sour - Leigh Kennicott - ShowMag - ...read full review


Erin Conley

Everything about it feels fresh, timely, and meticulously crafted, and despite the intense subject matter and hovering dark shadow of the current political climate, it manages to end on an uplifting note. All in all, this production is a triumph and should be required viewing in this election year.

sweet - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Avatar

If young Heidi and Shek can believe in the constitution then so can I. I did not leave the theatre feeling frightened and crazed. I felt hopeful. And excited to go home and review my pocket constitution.

sweet - Kelsey Goeres - The SoCal Review - ...read full review


Avatar

If this were simply a lecture given at a college, I would say this is highly recommended. It’s an exciting history lesson with thought-provoking stories about everything from sock monkeys and Dirty Dancing to a harrowing experience on the way to an abortion clinic. But as theater, it has not yet arrived. Let’s just say it could use some amendments.

sweet-sour - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

In this hilarious, hopeful, achingly human, timely and galvanizing new play, Playwright Schreck resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives. I guarantee your eyes will be opened to the ever-changing meaning of passages depending upon those on the Supreme Court who are charged with interpreting what our founding fathers meant when the document was created 230 years ago. I encourage everyone to see this insightful examination of what it means to be an American and how each of us is responsible to keep democracy alive in our ever-changing world.

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

Despite the earthy homily-like soliloquies offered by Schreck’s character, lending humble insight into her personal evolution, the comedy conceit of What the Constitution Means to Me is ably accompanied by a serious addressing of such lingering issues as women’s rights, immigration, and domestic abuse...

What the Constitution Means to Me is an important, if not essential, piece of theater that’s in sync with the zeitgeist of our times. It’s appropriate viewing for teens.

sweet - Ben Miles - ShowMag - ...read full review


Avatar

What The Constitution Means To Me is so well-written, so as to keep the audience’s attention while educating and motivating. When I saw the Tonys audience go nuts over just the mention of this play during last year’s awards, I could not imagine how someone made the study of the United States Constitution interesting and entertaining. But Heidi certainly accomplished that. With tons of humor, to boot.

sweet - Karen Salkin - It's Not About Me - ...read full review


Jill Weinlein

Direct from Broadway, playwright Heidi Schreck encourages the audience to ponder about the importance and how dated the U.S. Constitution is today. Director Oliver Butler has actress Maria Dizzia open the show as an adult Schreck, and soon she becomes a fifteen-year-old Schreck participating in an American Legion debate competition. She won enough prize money to put herself through college.

sweet - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Avatar

“What the Constitution Means to Me” is writer Heidi Schreck’s nearly two-hour, rather heartfelt, well-staged, beautifully delivered lecture centering on the one document holding America together.

sweet - Dany Margolies - Daily News - ...read full review


Avatar

How appropriate it is to have Heidi Schreck’s New York hit, What the Constitution Means To Me, play out on the Music Center’s Mark Taper stage against the backdrop of the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump. History has rarely been so present or theatre so prescient. And how about this timing for a refresher course on our nation’s constitution? It’s not only a welcome reawakening, but also an entertaining one.

sweet - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

Let me preface this review of Heidi Schreck’s “What the Constitution Means to Me” with a strong plea to every man, woman and mature teenager in the Los Angeles area to see this play, which opened Friday at the Mark Taper Forum...

If the show sounds like it might have a medicinal aftertaste, rest assured that “What the Constitution Means to Me” is playful, often amusing and at times piercing in its pathos.

sweet - Charles McNulty - LA Times - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

The play reaches back to the late 1980s, when 15-year-old Heidi, from her hometown of Wenatchee, Wash. (Apple Capital of the World), traveled across the United States to participate in Constitutional debate competitions sponsored by the American Legion, earning her college tuition with her prize-winning reflections on “What the Constitution Means to Me.” Aside from genre-bending in form, the play engages in a number of other kinds of shape-shifting. Dizzia portrays both Heidi Schreck now, a mature, wiser and perhaps more cynical woman in her 40s, and wistfully, without any change of clothes, the 15-year-old she once was. Later, when she engages spontaneously with the teenage debater, she can’t possibly still be Heidi Schreck; by now she must be herself, Maria Dizzia. Enough to make you dizzy (sorry!) sorting out everyone’s identity at any moment.

The droll American Legion guy too is a shape-shifter. The character is identified as Mike Iveson, but that’s the actor’s name. At one point, the actor drops the stiff drill-sergeant martinet rule-maker persona and becomes what he purports to be himself. Later on, he drops that too and just serves Ms. Dizzia in neither of those personas by handing her cue cards. I would also observe that the “understudy for Mike Iveson,” the aforementioned Gabriel Marin, seemingly would play “Mike Iveson,” not himself as “Gabriel Marin.” The audience also goes through an identity change: “Schreck” tells us we are the American Legion audience and we are all older white men smokers. Now I’m even dizzia.

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Don Grigware

Heidi Schreck has written a play that must be seen. Women are not protected under the law of the fourteenth amendment and the fight for equality goes on.

sweet - Don Grigware - Grigware Reviews - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman

Schreck has filtered her personal journey of discovery into a vital work that challenges us to consider our heritage as Americans — to preserve the good and discard the bad. And she offers it up to us with an abundant supply of humor and humanity that unequivocally drives her message home.

sweet - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

As much as I admire what Schreck is saying in her play, I am not pleased by the execution she and director Oliver Butler have chosen to present it...For this viewer, the show would have worked much better as a one-person monologue. Schreck has a lot of insightful commentary on the way the Constitution has been interpreted and used and mis-used in the over two hundred years since its adoption.

sweet-sour - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Avatar

I agree with McNulty’s assessment of Shreck and the subject matter. Caution is required for those who have experienced sexual violence: there is reference to it in the play, and it could be triggery for some. But, alas, how our constitutions protects or fails to protect those subject to violence should be even more reason for people to vote. [...] This is a show every American — or anyone wanting to understand the Constitution — should see

sweet - Daniel Faigin - Observations Along the Road - ...read full review


Avatar

If you find yourself attending only one stage production this year, let this be the one.

sweet - Sarah A. Spitz - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


Avatar

Directed with a firm hand by Oliver Butler, who manages to tell Schreck’s story through her memories and then in real time, WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME is highly effective and involving.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

The political and ideological battles that have been, and still are, fought over these constitutional issues give the show its relevance; personal touches (such as Schreck revealing that she herself had an abortion) humanize it as well, making the abstract real. Flashes of wit and humor also help to enliven things.

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

What Ms. Schrek's play brilliantly does is make the constitution personal. She reminds us of its profound limitations and its greatest strengths. She takes the distant language of amendments and places them, metaphorically and insightfully, on her own life, on her own body. Abstract ideas and distant histories become tangible and present...

You need to go see this show. You need to take your daughters (and your sons) to see this show. You'll walk out with a more personal relationship to our constitution and that's something we could all use right now.

sweet - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW - ...read full review


Leigh Kennicott

With yet another import from Broadway on the Mark Tabor stage, it is interesting to review the rhetoric about the play against the actual product. Heidi Schreck’s play does not disappoint. Her tight, 90-minute plus monologue (with help from original cast, Mike Iveson) captivates for its very personal take on a document that we all (Mostly) take for granted.

But, if this discussion is not enough, the performance ends with a “mock” debate whether the constitution should be abolished, featuring 15-year old Rosdely Ciprian. And, wait! There’s more! Since the previous audience had submitted questions to the debaters (along the lines of “what is your pet’s name”). We must sit and wait through several of them before we are finally released. Now clocking in at a good two hours without an intermission, the evening ends, if you will excuse the plagiarism, “not with a bang, but a whimper.”

sweet-sour - Leigh Kennicott - ShowMag - ...read full review


Erin Conley

Everything about it feels fresh, timely, and meticulously crafted, and despite the intense subject matter and hovering dark shadow of the current political climate, it manages to end on an uplifting note. All in all, this production is a triumph and should be required viewing in this election year.

sweet - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Avatar

If young Heidi and Shek can believe in the constitution then so can I. I did not leave the theatre feeling frightened and crazed. I felt hopeful. And excited to go home and review my pocket constitution.

sweet - Kelsey Goeres - The SoCal Review - ...read full review


Avatar

If this were simply a lecture given at a college, I would say this is highly recommended. It’s an exciting history lesson with thought-provoking stories about everything from sock monkeys and Dirty Dancing to a harrowing experience on the way to an abortion clinic. But as theater, it has not yet arrived. Let’s just say it could use some amendments.

sweet-sour - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

In this hilarious, hopeful, achingly human, timely and galvanizing new play, Playwright Schreck resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives. I guarantee your eyes will be opened to the ever-changing meaning of passages depending upon those on the Supreme Court who are charged with interpreting what our founding fathers meant when the document was created 230 years ago. I encourage everyone to see this insightful examination of what it means to be an American and how each of us is responsible to keep democracy alive in our ever-changing world.

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

Despite the earthy homily-like soliloquies offered by Schreck’s character, lending humble insight into her personal evolution, the comedy conceit of What the Constitution Means to Me is ably accompanied by a serious addressing of such lingering issues as women’s rights, immigration, and domestic abuse...

What the Constitution Means to Me is an important, if not essential, piece of theater that’s in sync with the zeitgeist of our times. It’s appropriate viewing for teens.

sweet - Ben Miles - ShowMag - ...read full review


Avatar

What The Constitution Means To Me is so well-written, so as to keep the audience’s attention while educating and motivating. When I saw the Tonys audience go nuts over just the mention of this play during last year’s awards, I could not imagine how someone made the study of the United States Constitution interesting and entertaining. But Heidi certainly accomplished that. With tons of humor, to boot.

sweet - Karen Salkin - It's Not About Me - ...read full review


Jill Weinlein

Direct from Broadway, playwright Heidi Schreck encourages the audience to ponder about the importance and how dated the U.S. Constitution is today. Director Oliver Butler has actress Maria Dizzia open the show as an adult Schreck, and soon she becomes a fifteen-year-old Schreck participating in an American Legion debate competition. She won enough prize money to put herself through college.

sweet - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Avatar

“What the Constitution Means to Me” is writer Heidi Schreck’s nearly two-hour, rather heartfelt, well-staged, beautifully delivered lecture centering on the one document holding America together.

sweet - Dany Margolies - Daily News - ...read full review


Avatar

How appropriate it is to have Heidi Schreck’s New York hit, What the Constitution Means To Me, play out on the Music Center’s Mark Taper stage against the backdrop of the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump. History has rarely been so present or theatre so prescient. And how about this timing for a refresher course on our nation’s constitution? It’s not only a welcome reawakening, but also an entertaining one.

sweet - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

Let me preface this review of Heidi Schreck’s “What the Constitution Means to Me” with a strong plea to every man, woman and mature teenager in the Los Angeles area to see this play, which opened Friday at the Mark Taper Forum...

If the show sounds like it might have a medicinal aftertaste, rest assured that “What the Constitution Means to Me” is playful, often amusing and at times piercing in its pathos.

sweet - Charles McNulty - LA Times - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

The play reaches back to the late 1980s, when 15-year-old Heidi, from her hometown of Wenatchee, Wash. (Apple Capital of the World), traveled across the United States to participate in Constitutional debate competitions sponsored by the American Legion, earning her college tuition with her prize-winning reflections on “What the Constitution Means to Me.” Aside from genre-bending in form, the play engages in a number of other kinds of shape-shifting. Dizzia portrays both Heidi Schreck now, a mature, wiser and perhaps more cynical woman in her 40s, and wistfully, without any change of clothes, the 15-year-old she once was. Later, when she engages spontaneously with the teenage debater, she can’t possibly still be Heidi Schreck; by now she must be herself, Maria Dizzia. Enough to make you dizzy (sorry!) sorting out everyone’s identity at any moment.

The droll American Legion guy too is a shape-shifter. The character is identified as Mike Iveson, but that’s the actor’s name. At one point, the actor drops the stiff drill-sergeant martinet rule-maker persona and becomes what he purports to be himself. Later on, he drops that too and just serves Ms. Dizzia in neither of those personas by handing her cue cards. I would also observe that the “understudy for Mike Iveson,” the aforementioned Gabriel Marin, seemingly would play “Mike Iveson,” not himself as “Gabriel Marin.” The audience also goes through an identity change: “Schreck” tells us we are the American Legion audience and we are all older white men smokers. Now I’m even dizzia.

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Don Grigware

Heidi Schreck has written a play that must be seen. Women are not protected under the law of the fourteenth amendment and the fight for equality goes on.

sweet - Don Grigware - Grigware Reviews - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman

Schreck has filtered her personal journey of discovery into a vital work that challenges us to consider our heritage as Americans — to preserve the good and discard the bad. And she offers it up to us with an abundant supply of humor and humanity that unequivocally drives her message home.

sweet - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

As much as I admire what Schreck is saying in her play, I am not pleased by the execution she and director Oliver Butler have chosen to present it...For this viewer, the show would have worked much better as a one-person monologue. Schreck has a lot of insightful commentary on the way the Constitution has been interpreted and used and mis-used in the over two hundred years since its adoption.

sweet-sour - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review