Hillary and Clinton

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Hillary and Clinton
Written byLucas Hnath
Characters
Date premieredApril 1, 2016
Place premieredVictory Gardens Theater
Original languageEnglish
Official site

Hillary and Clinton is a play written by Lucas Hnath that premiered in 2016 at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. The play is set in an alternate universe[1] and tells a story centering on Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

After one month of previews, the play opened on Broadway on April 18, 2019, at the John Golden Theatre. The Broadway production stars Laurie Metcalf as Hillary Clinton and John Lithgow as Bill Clinton.

Development[edit]

Hillary and Clinton was written by Lucas Hnath in 2008. Hnath described it as "a play about the Clintons that's not a play about the Clintons."[2] During its development stage, the play was workshopped at Victory Gardens Theater's Ignition Festival of New Plays in 2014 then at the Cape Cod Theatre Project in 2015. The first read-through for the Victory Gardens Theater production took place in March 2016. Hnath had asked the original production team not to attempt to cast actors who resembled the real-life individuals they were to play, as he did not want the character portrayals to come across as impressions.[2]

Productions[edit]

Hillary and Clinton premiered at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, where it was directed by Chay Yew and ran from April 1 to May 1, 2016.[3] Subsequent productions were staged in theaters in Philadelphia, Richmond, and Dallas. In all of these pre-Broadway productions, Hillary Clinton was portrayed by African-American women.[4][5]

Broadway[edit]

A Broadway production of Hillary and Clinton was announced in October 2018,[4] and The Hollywood Reporter reported that the play had gone through major changes since its original run.[6] The Broadway production is directed by Joe Mantello and stars Laurie Metcalf as Hillary Clinton and John Lithgow as Bill Clinton.[7] It is produced by Scott Rudin, with set design by Chloe Lamford, costume design by Ann Roth, and lighting design by Hugh Vanstone.[5]

Previews began on March 16, 2019 at the John Golden Theatre with the official opening on April 18.[7] It is the first Broadway play to feature Hillary Clinton as a leading character.[4]

The play closed on June 23, 2019. It was originally scheduled to close on July 21, 2019,[8] but on June 18, 2019 it was announced the show was closing early due to poor ticket sales.[9]

Synopsis[edit]

The play takes place in an alternate universe and centers on a woman named Hillary Clinton who is running for President of the United States in 2008.[4][10] A few days before the New Hampshire primary, Clinton is in her hotel room trying to turn her struggling campaign around.[1][10] Her campaign manager Mark advises her to concede the primary race and accept her opponent's offer to be his running mate.[1] Against Mark's advice, Clinton turns to her husband Bill for assistance, but the two disagree on how much vulnerability Clinton must show to win over voters.[10]

Cast[edit]

Character Original Chicago cast[3] Broadway cast[5]
Hillary Clinton Cheryl Lynn Bruce Laurie Metcalf
Bill Clinton John Apicella John Lithgow
Mark Penn Keith Kupferer Zak Orth
Barack Obama ("The Other Guy")[a] Juan Francisco Villa Peter Francis James

Reception[edit]

Critical reception to the original Chicago production was mixed.[4] Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Chris Jones praised Hnath's "audacious, whip-smart, highly entertaining" writing but was disappointed with the casting choices.[12] The New York Times's Charles Isherwood found the play to be overly restrained,[1] while The Economist felt that Hillary and Clinton was at its "most interesting" when it looked at the political demands Hillary Clinton has had to deal with due to her gender.[10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b In the original Chicago production, Barack Obama was not referred to by name in the play, only as "The Other Guy".[6] In the Broadway production, the character is referred to by name.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Isherwood, Charles (April 18, 2016). "Beyond the Trump Show? Two Political Plays in Chicago Give It a Try". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Reid, Kerry (August 23, 2016). "The Alternate Universe of Lucas Hnath's 'Hillary and Clinton'". American Theatre. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Hillary and Clinton". Victory Gardens Theater. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Paulson, Michael (October 4, 2018). "Hillary Clinton Is Coming to Broadway. As a Character in a Play". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Hetrick, Adam (October 31, 2018). "Full Casting Announced for Hillary and Clinton on Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Rooney, Daivd (October 4, 2018). "Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow to Star on Broadway in 'Hillary and Clinton' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Clement, Olivia (March 16, 2019). "Hillary and Clinton, Starring Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow, Begins on Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  8. ^ Clement, Olivia. "Broadway's 'Hillary and Clinton' to Close Early" Playbill, June 17, 2019
  9. ^ Wulfsohn, Joseph A. "Closing Early" foxnews.com, June 18, 2019
  10. ^ a b c d V.v.B. (May 12, 2016). "Playing the woman card". The Economist. Archived from the original on March 17, 2019. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  11. ^ "Hillary and Clinton". Playbill. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  12. ^ Jones, Chris (April 11, 2018). "'Hillary and Clinton' review: When Bill tried to save Hillary". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 18, 2019.