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BWW Review: WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME at The Broadway Playhouse

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Running through November 7th

BWW Review: WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME at The Broadway Playhouse

Is it a patchwork? Is it a cauldron? Is it a document that essentially needs to be scrapped and rewritten? It can be argued that The Constitution of the United States is any one of these things. That's precisely what is discussed in the fascinatingly urgent WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME.

Playwright Heidi Schreck details her own journey through constitutional debates where she earned scholarship money for college. Cassie Beck skillfully steps into Schreck's shoes to tell her story about the impact of these debates but also what she learned about the constitution and its relevance to her own life.

There's more here than meets the eye or title for that matter. Schrek's story envelops the struggles and trials of the women in her life. She shares with us the legacy of their strength, courage, and perseverance often having to defy societal norms and, in some cases, the laws of land. Detailing the heartbreaking outcome of Castle Rock vs Gonzalez case (it's worth reading about if you don't know it), Schrek sheds light on how this case transcends other families' experiences.

What we learn through all of this is that the constitution has many flaws but is also the bedrock of our country that needs constant attention and review. Just when you feel confident in its positions, Schrek throws you another angle to argue for it's updating. And the play could not feel more timely with so many issues currently hanging in the balance.

Director Oliver Butler keeps the story on pace by giving Beck room to confidently explore and narrate each joyful and painful moment. Her robust performance keeps us rooting for her at every step of the way. Mike Iverson as the debate hall judge is a gem and has a touching monologue out of character that makes him even more endearing. BWW Review: WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME at The Broadway Playhouse

The final part of the show is a constitutional debate between Beck and a young student, played at this performance by Emilyn Toffler. They are given the task of defending either keeping or abolishing the constitution. It's a fascinating back and forth, especially considering what we witnessed from Beck throughout the past hour. The two perspectives showcase our country through the eyes of two different generations. The most refreshing part was that the debate was entirely respectful - something we seem to see less of of these days.

In a little over 100 minutes, WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME teaches what feels like a semester's worth of material. And however you feel about this complex document, you will likely gain a new appreciation for its ongoing influence and worthwhile review.

WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME runs through November 7th at The Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut in Chicago. For tickets, visit BroadwayinChicago.com.


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From This Author Patrick Rybarczyk