Gloria Steinem's life, legacy, and compatriots—and her audience—take center stage in Gloria: A Life, beginning January 24 at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Boston-area run follows bows Off-Broadway and at New Jersey's McCarter Theatre Center, where playwright Emily Mann serves as artistic director. A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus helms the staging.
Patricia Kalember takes on the title role, having previously starred in the play during the show's Off-Broadway engagement. The cast also includes Patrena Murray, Brenda Withers, Erika Stone, Eunice Wong, Joanna Glushak, and Gabrielle Beckford, each of whom either performed in Gloria: A Life Off-Broadway or at the McCarter Theatre Center. Rachel Cognata completes the company.
Gloria: A Life celebrates the writer, organizer, and activist Gloria Steinem. The first act of the play focuses on Steinem's personal life, including her work as an activist with several peers. "This show demystifies what it means to be Gloria. Gloria Steinem wasn't born a feminist. There was a process by which she understood her rights, her voice," Paulus says in the new video below. "The path to that was through other women. Gloria's life was defined by the women around her and the community she built."
The second act, however, second serves as a "Talking Circle," in which the audience is invited to carry the themes of the play into a conversation of their own. Paulus explains: "The point is to allow space for everyone to feel that their story matters."
Opening night is set for January 30; performances are currently scheduled through March 1.
Paulus is also set to direct another exploration of American history and politics at her creative home: a revival of 1776. The A.R.T. production will play additional cities across the country before opening on Broadway in 2021.
Meanwhile, Julie Taymor—another Tony-winning Broadway director—premieres her Steinem biopic The Glorias at Sundance Film Festival this year. The cast includes Julianne Moore and Alicia Vikander, both as the feminist icon.