Review: SISTERS IN LAW at JCC Centerstage Theatre

What did our critic think of SISTERS IN LAW at JCC Centerstage Theatre?

By: Apr. 08, 2024
Review: SISTERS IN LAW at JCC Centerstage Theatre
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

Currently playing at Rochester’s JCC Centerstage Theatre is a play that seems out of place in our modern era of intense division and heightened polarization because it explores the deep respect and affection between two people who hold sharply different political and philosophical views, performed by two women who capture all the intellect, humor, and authenticity of the play’s subjects.

"Sisters in Law" by Jonathan Shapiro, based on the award-winning 2015 book of the same name by Linda Hirshman, is a gripping play that delves into the true story of two remarkable women, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Karin Bowersock) and Sandra Day O'Connor (Patricia Lewis), who ascended to the highest court in the United States as the first female justices. Set against the backdrop of the Supreme Court of the United States, the play explores the challenges, triumphs, and complex dynamics that shaped their groundbreaking careers.

As Ginsburg and O'Connor navigate their roles on the bench, they grapple with issues of gender equality, civil rights, and the weight of their judicial responsibilities. Despite their differing backgrounds and judicial philosophies, the two women forge a deep bond and mutual respect as they confront prejudice, skepticism, and resistance from their male counterparts.

"Sisters in Law" illuminates the personal and professional struggles faced by Ginsburg and O'Connor as they strive to uphold justice and leave a lasting impact on the American legal landscape. Through sharp dialogue, poignant moments, and powerful performances, the play celebrates the indomitable spirit and enduring legacy of these trailblazing justices.

The brilliance of this show rests on the ways in which Shapiro so sharply and poignantly highlights the similarities and differences between Ginsburg and O’Connor. They are the first and second women to ascend to the highest court in the land; both have ample experience grappling with sexism and misogyny in their careers; both are brilliant legal minds; and both are deeply committed to the law and justice. And yet, Ruth is a revolutionary and Sandra prefers slow, incremental change. Sandra is a consensus-builder and Ruth blazes her own trail. And, of course, Ruth is a liberal firebrand and Sandra a stalwart moderate. It’s a testament to the excellent writing of Shapiro and Hirshman, and both Lewis and Bowersock do an exemplary job portraying these distinct, iconic women with all the expectations and baggage that their respective legacies bring.

Perhaps I came predisposed to enjoy this play based on my interest in politics and history, but I found that "Sisters in Law" masterfully explores the complex machinations of the Supreme Court, offering the audience a fascinating glimpse into the deliberations, debates, and power dynamics that shape its decisions. The play navigates the corridors of justice with depth and authenticity, shedding light on the myriad challenges and ethical dilemmas faced by its justices. From the clash of ideologies to the delicate balance between law and politics, "Sisters in Law" skillfully captures the essence of the Supreme Court through the eyes of two of its most iconic members.

“Sisters in Law” is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at two icons of American jurisprudence, and a reminder that friendship can be found in the unlikeliest of places. It’s playing at JCC’s Centerstage Theatre until April 21st, for tickets and more information click here.


To post a comment, you must register and login.