April Armstrong, seen in the national tour of Carousel, will star as President Jimmy Carter in the Off-Broadway premiere of Susan Lambert Hatem's cross-gender play Confidence (and The Speech) at Theatre Row this fall. Armstrong replaces Denise Burse, who had been previously tapped to play the former President.
In Confidence (and the Speech), college professor Cynthia Cooper is approached by a young man to recall her time with the Carter Administration during the days before his Crisis of Confidence speech, also famously known as the "malaise" speech. If she is going to tell her story of that time, she is going to play the President. The play explores the confidence of a president, a nation in chaos, and women in politics.
The cast of the production, directed by Hannah Ryan, also features Ross Alden (Cymbeline, In the Bubble), Sarah Dacey Charles (Les Misérables, Wit), Mark Coffin (The Cake, Transport), Zach Fifer (Dominant Species, Dead Sound), Abigail Ludrof (The Weak Ones, Afterglow), James Penca (The Artist and The Scientist, Love in Hate Nation), Imran Sheikh (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and Stephen Stout (Puffs, Twelfth Night).
Confidence (and the Speech) will begin previews November 14 ahead of a November 20 opening.
“It’s exciting to have a woman play President Carter. And, it’s fun to watch a young man walk in a woman’s shoes in the 1970s,” says playwright Hatem. “But I also wanted to illuminate what I had to say about Carter’s speech and what he was trying to do and about how we view history.”
The creative team includes producer Anne Lambert, scenic designer Brittany Vasta, costume designer Vanessa Leuck, lighting designer Christina Watanabe, sound designer Emma Wilk, projection designer S. Katy Tucker, properties designer Deb Gaouette, and movement director Karla Garcia. Becky Abramovitz is the production stage manager, Ellie Handel is the assistant stage manager, and Diane Phelan is the associate director. Casting is by Cindi Rush Casting, CSA, and general management is Visceral Entertainment.
Confidence (and The Speech) had its world premiere at the Duke Energy Theatre in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2018.