What the Constitution Means to Me

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What the Constitution Means to Me
Written byHeidi Schreck
Date premiered2017
Place premieredNew York City
Original languageEnglish
SettingAmerican Legion Hall in Wenatchee, Washington

What the Constitution Means to Me is a 2017 American play by Heidi Schreck.[1] The play was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


What the Constitution Means to Me was first produced at the Wild Project, in Summerworks, Clubbed Thumb's (New York City) festival for new plays in June to July 2017 in a co-production with True Love Productions.[2][3] Schreck was commissioned by True Love Productions in their new play commissioning program, writing What the Constitution Means to Me for her commission.[4]

The play was presented at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California, from May 3, 2018 to June 17, 2018. Schreck starred, with Danny Wolohan as the moderator "Danny", and direction by Oliver Butler.[5][6]

The play opened Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop on September 12, 2018 and closed there on November 4, 2018 (in an extension of one week),[7][8] before moving to the Greenwich House on November 27, 2018 where it closed on December 30, 2018.[9] The play was directed by Oliver Butler. The cast featured Heidi Schreck, along with Mike Iveson, Rosdely Ciprian, and Thursday Williams.[10]

The play made its Broadway premiere for a limited run on March 14, 2019 in previews at the Hayes Theatre, with the official opening March 31. The run has been extended to July 21, 2019. Directed again by Oliver Butler, the cast features Heidi Schreck, Mike Iveson, Rosdely Ciprian, Thursday Williams, and Ben Beckley.[1][11] The production has extended the Broadway run once more, to August 24, 2019.[12]

The play, starring Schreck, will have an engagement at the Kennedy Center, Eisenhower Theater from September 11 to September 22, 2019.[13]

The play will play an engagement at the Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, from January 12 to February 16, 2020. and then Chicago's Broadway Playhouse March 4 to April 12.[14] The play is then expected to tour in the US, in Charlotte, Hartford, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and more to be announced. This tour features a new performer, taking the lead role that Schreck has performed.[15] Maria Dizzia will star in the Los Angeles and Chicago venues.[16]


Heidi Schreck takes the audience back to her time as a 15 year old Constitutional debater. At 15, young Heidi is fascinated by the document and all the freedom that it gives to Americans. Throughout her speech as a 15 year old, flashes of her current self and her realizations about the document are shown. She draws connections to the domestic violence faced by women in her family, she tackles abortion and immigration. She eventually "transforms" back into her current self, and continues to explain the problems with the United States Constitution; mainly, she argues that the Constitution doesn't protect all Americans because it was not created to protect all Americans, just wealthy white men. Partway through this part of the play, Mike Iveson shares his experience in regards to his sexuality. At the end of the show, Heidi and a teenage debater argue about whether the current Constitution should be kept or abolished.

Critical response[edit]

In reviewing the 2018 Off-Broadway production, Thom Geier of The Wrap wrote: "Schreck is an engaging storyteller with a delivery that seems improvised even when she is sticking to her winding but always-focused script. Again and again, she manages to imbue her exploration of the politics of constitutional rights from the lens of the personal. And of the individuals left out as Americans saw their rights expand."[17]

Honors and awards[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2019 Lucille Lortel Awards[18] Outstanding Play (Off-Broadway) Nominated
Obie Award[19] Best New American Play Won
Off-Broadway Alliance Awards[20] Best New Play Won
Drama League Award[21] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play Nominated
Distinguished Performance Award Heidi Schreck Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards[22] Outstanding New Broadway Play Nominated
New York Drama Critics' Circle[23] Best American Play Won
Drama Desk Award[24][25] Outstanding Play Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Play Heidi Schreck Nominated
Tony Award[26] Best Play Nominated
Best Leading Actress in a Play Heidi Schreck Nominated

Pulitzer Prize[edit]

The play was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The committee wrote: "A charming and incisive analysis of gender and racial biases inherent to the U.S. Constitution that examines how this living document could evolve to fit modern America."[27]


  1. ^ a b Stasio, Marilyn (31 March 2019). "Broadway Review: 'What The Constitution Means To Me'". Variety.
  2. ^ Larson, Sarah (26 June 2017). "In Heidi Schreck's New Play, Teen Girls Talk About the Constitution". The New Yorker. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Productions Summerworks 2017". Clubbed Thumb. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  4. ^ "Commissions" trueloveproductions.com, Retrieved April 4, 2019
  5. ^ What the Constitution Means to Me berkeleyrep.org, accessed April 2, 2019
  6. ^ Janiak, Lily. "At Berkeley Rep, Constitution is ‘steamy,’ but ‘Constitution’ is hazy" San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 2018
  7. ^ " What the Constitution Means to Me Off-Broadway" theatermania.com, Retrieved April 1, 2019
  8. ^ Clement, Olivia. " What the Constitution Means to Me Extends Again at New York Theatre Workshop" Playbill, October 17, 2018
  9. ^ "What the Constitution Means to Me Off-Broadway" lortel.org, Retrieved April 1, 2019
  10. ^ "What the Constitution Means to Me" nytw.org, Retrieved March 31, 2019
  11. ^ Clement, Olivia. " What the Constitution Means to Me Extends on Broadway" Playbill, March 31, 2019
  12. ^ Clement, Olivia. "Tony-Nominated 'What the Constitution Means to Me' Extends Again on Broadway" Playbill, April 30, 2019
  13. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "Heidi Schreck to Bring 'What the Constitution Means to Me' to Washington, D.C., After Broadway Bow" Playbill, June 20, 2019
  14. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Heidi Schreck’s Tony-Nominated 'What the Constitution Means to Me' Announced for Mark Taper Season" Playbill, May 2, 2019
  15. ^ Hetrick, Adam. " 'What the Constitution Means to Me' to Launch National Tour" Playbill, June 3, 2019
  16. ^ Meyer, Dan. "Tony Nominee Maria Dizzia to Star in What the Constitution Means to Me in L.A. and Chicago" Playbill, October 15, 2019
  17. ^ Geier, Thom. "'What the Constitution Means to Me' Theater Review: A Timely Blend of the Political and Personal" The Wrap, October 1, 2018
  18. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Nominations for 34th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards Announced; 'Carmen Jones' and 'Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future' Lead the Pack" Playbill, April 3, 2019
  19. ^ Clement, Olivia; McPhee, Ryan. "Heidi Schreck's Constitution, New York Theatre Workshop Among 2019 Obie Award Winners" Playbill, May 20, 2019
  20. ^ Clement, Olivia, " 'What the Constitution Means to Me' and Yiddish 'Fiddler on the Roof' Among 2019 Off-Broadway Alliance Award Winners" Playbill, May 22, 2019
  21. ^ McPhee, Ryan. Annette Bening, Bryan Cranston, Stephanie J. Block Among 2019 Drama League Award Nominees" Playbill, April 17, 2019
  22. ^ Clement, Olivia. " 'Hadestown' Leads 2019 Outer Critics Circle Nominations" Playbill, April 23, 2019
  23. ^ McPhee, Ryan. " 'Tootsie', 'The Ferryman', 'What the Constitution Means to Me' Win 2019 New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards" Playbill, May 6, 2019
  24. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "Nominations for the 2019 Drama Desk Awards Announced; 'Oklahoma!', 'Tootsie', 'Rags Parkland' Lead the Pack" Playbill, April 25, 2019
  25. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie. " 'Tootsie', 'Hadestown', and 'The Ferryman' Lead 2019 Drama Desk Award Winners" Playbill, June 2, 2019
  26. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "2019 Tony Award Nominations: 'Hadestown' and 'Ain't Too Proud' Lead the Pack Playbill, April 30, 2019
  27. ^ "Drama. Heidi Schreck" pulitzer.org, retrieved April 15, 2019

External links[edit]