A timely and very important play is on its way to Theatre Row. The Off-Broadway premiere of Confidence (and The Speech), a new play, written by Susan Lambert Hatem and directed by Hannah Ryan (Hamilton, An American in Paris), featuring April Armstrong portraying President Jimmy Carter is paying for a limited engagement at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street – between 9th & 10th Avenues). Previews will begin on Thursday, November 14 at 8pm with an official opening on Wednesday, November 20th at 8pm. Performances will continue through December 7th.
On July 4, 1979 President Carter cancelled an important energy policy speech he was scheduled to give the next day and disappeared to Camp David. Ten days later, he emerged from his impromptu domestic summit and gave a new speech, the Crisis of Confidence speech, which many now view as unprecedented, farsighted and insightful. Others think it may have ultimately cost him the White House. Forty years later, college professor Cynthia Cooper is approached by a stranger, a young man, and asked to recall her time with the Carter Administration during the days before the now infamous “malaise” speech. If she is going to tell her story of that time, she is going to play the President. And the young man who wants to know her story? Well, he is going to play her. This unique cross- gender play explores the confidence of a president, a nation in chaos and women in politics.
Ms. Armstrong (Ragtime, Carousel) in the gender-bending role of President Carter, joins 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).
The entirely female creative team includes Brittany Vasta (Scenic Design), Vanessa Leuck (Costume Design), Christina Watanabe (Lighting Design), Emma Wilk (Sound Design), S. Katy Tucker (Projection Design), Deb Gaouette (Properties), and Karla Garcia (Movement Direction). 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. General Management is by Visceral Entertainment.
“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 Susan Lambert 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.” “We’re very different people,” notes Anne Lambert. “However, we have a shared experience of knowing how incredibly challenging it was — and is — for women to have a voice. This play examines the confidence it takes to be a person speaking up in a room where your voice is not welcomed or encouraged.”
Confidence (and The Speech) had its premiere production at the Duke Energy Theatre in Charlotte, NC in 2018.
The performance schedule will be as follows: 11/14 at 8pm, 11/15 at 8pm, 11/16 at 8pm, 11/18 at 7pm, 11/20 at 2pm & 8pm, 11/22 at 8pm, 11/23 at 8pm, 11/26 at 7pm, 11/27 at 2pm, 11/29 at 8pm, 12/01 at 3pm, 12/02 at 7pm, 12/05 at 8pm and 12/07 at 8pm.
Tickets are priced $49-$69 ($89 premium) and can be purchased at www.confidenceandthespeech.com or at the Theatre Row Box Office (410 W. 42nd Street.
Photos: Courtesy of Confidence (The Speech)
*These Actors are appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association. Equity Approved Showcase.