After the March 14 first preview of What the Constitution Means to Me on Broadway, playwright and performer Heidi Schreck appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert March 15. The play is a transfer of the Off-Broadway hit from New York Theatre Workshop to the theatre district's Helen Hayes Theatre.
“It’s a very personal love story about a teenage girl’s bad romance with the Constitution,” Schreck says of her play.
“When I was in high school, I would travel the country giving speeches about the Constitution at American Legion halls for prize money. This was a scheme invented by my mom who was a debate coach to help me pay for college; I was actually able to pay for my entire college education this way.”
Ten years ago, Schreck decided to turn the experience into a play. “The play became about the stories of the women in my family—the way their lives have been shaped by the Constitution, the way the Constitution has failed them over generations,” she explained.
The first time Schreck ever performed the show in public, she reached a difficult section and left the stage, deciding she didn’t want to continue—not just that night, but at all.
Backstage, her husband said, “‘I’m sitting behind this row of young women and they’re very into the play, and they clearly want and need to hear what you’re talking about.’” Schreck was still not persuaded, until she was offered a bit of liquid courage. Her show became a sensation and will officially open March 31.
Watch the full video to hear more from Schreck, why she finds the Constitution sexy, her favorite amendment, and more.