If you missed Hillary Clinton in her recent visit to Broadway, you can catch five other first ladies in Houston, now through April 20. Michael John LaChiusa's musical, First Lady Suite, playing at Theatre LaB Houston, offers funny/sad portraits of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower. Three semi-separate one-act musicals and an entracte comprise First Lady Suite. "Over Texas" catches Kennedy and Johnson just before JFK's assassination. "Where's Mamie?" takes Eisenhower to Algeria on the trail of her philandering Ike. "Eleanor Sleeps Here" shows the spoken and unspoken relationship between Roosevelt and pilot Lorena Hickok. And "Olio" shows poor Margaret Truman being upstaged by mother Bess at a recital.
Ed Muth directs the musical, which has musical direction by Steven Jones. Appearing in the piece are Robin Smith (Jackie O), Elizabeth Byrd (Mamie), Jimmy Phillips (Ike), Susan Kenyon (Eleanor), Doris Davis (Margaret Truman), Zona Jane Meyer (Lorena Hickok) and Cassandra White (as opera diva Marian Anderson).
Designers for the show, are ClaraMarie Verheyen (costumes & makeup), Christian DeVries (set) and Bill McDonald (lighting).
LaChiusa's Off-Broadway shows include First Lady Suite, The Petrified Prince (1994), and Eulogy For Mister Hamm (1990).
For tickets ($18) and information on First Lady Suite at Theatre LaB Houston on Alamo St., call (713) 868-7516.
--By David Lefkowitz