Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

M*A*S*H* Star Loretta Swit Leads ELEANOR ROOSEVELT: HER SECRET JOURNEY, Starting Tonight at Laguna Playhouse

Laguna Playhouse welcomes "M*A*S*H" star Loretta Swit starring in Eleanor Roosevelt, HER SECRET JOURNEY.

Comments Artistic Director Ann E.Wareham, "In this historic election year, that may see our first woman be president, what better way to reflect and take a look at another woman who played such an extraordinary part in the history of this nation. We are honored to have Loretta Swit bring the life of Eleanor Roosevelt to our stage just before this year's election."

Eleanor Roosevelt, HER SECRET JOURNEY opens tonight, November 3, for four performances at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.

Two-time Emmy Award-winning Loretta Swit (M*A*S*H) breathes life into one of history's most intriguing and longest-serving first ladies, Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt, HER SECRET JOURNEY is a deeply personal portrait of the woman who brought warmth and compassion to issues of war, peace, and human rights.

Throughout her life, Eleanor Roosevelt found the courage to face her challenges and discovered that they made her stronger. From supportive spouse of an American aristocrat and politician to wronged wife to advocate for the rights of those who had no champion, Eleanor grew at every step. Eleanor Roosevelt, HER SECRET JOURNEY begins when President Truman asks her to head the American delegation to the newly created United Nations. Knowing this would be a big step for any woman, she reviews her life before deciding to accept the offer that ultimately landed her on the world stage. Loretta Swit, best known for her many years on M*A*S*H as Major Houlihan, portrays Eleanor in this rewarding one-woman play.

Eleanor Roosevelt, HER SECRET JOURNEY takes place in Eleanor Roosevelt's living room at Val-Kill in Hyde Park, NY in 1945. It is performed in One Act without Intermission. This one-woman portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt has been created for the stage by Rhoda Lerman under the technical supervision of Ron Nash.


Loretta Swit (Eleanor Roosevelt). Few actresses can capture the imagination of generations of television viewers with the certainty and charm of Loretta Swit. As quick- witted, impassioned Major Margaret Houlihan of television's most honored series, "M*A*S*H," Ms. Swit became an American icon and with its popularity now in worldwide syndication, new fans continue to enjoy her lavish portrayal of the sensuous, sensitive, comedic Major Houlihan. Ms. Swit has been honored with such recognition as the People's Choice Award, The Genie Award, The Silver Satellite Award, The Jean Golden Halo Award, the Pacific Broadcasters Award, and two Emmy Awards. With 10 Emmy nominations and eight nominations for the Golden Globe, her career has teamed her with some of the most memorable names in the world of entertainment. She made her Broadway debut in Same Time, Next Year opposite Ted Bessell, and again with Don Murray.

She has toured with national companies of Any Wednesday, and with two companies of Mame starring as Agnes Gooch alongside two illustrious Mames, Susan Hayward and Celeste Holm, playing the title role of Mame herself years later in New York and Pennsylvania. She has appeared in over 1,200 performances of Shirley Valentine - a role for which she won Chicago's most prestigious theatrical honor, the Sarah Siddons Award. In 2010 she revisited Shirley Valentine in Canada for a highly successful 3-month engagement. Ms. Swit appeared in touring companies of the musical spoof, Song of Singapore, while continuing to perform select dates of Love Letters with Anthony Franciosa. She appeared in The Vagina Monologues in New York, Chicago and the West End in London. Her television career boasts over 25 movies, including the original "Cagney and Lacey," in which she created the role of Chris Cagney, with obligations to "M*A*S*H" preventing her from shooting the series. A few other films include "Games Mother Never Taught You" with Sam Waterston, "Hell Hath No Fury" with Barbara Eden, "The Execution" with Sandy Dennis and Rip Torn, "Dreams of Gold" with Cliff Robertson and "A Killer Among Friends" with Patty Duke (the highest rated movie of that year). Ms. Swit has sung and danced her way through most of television's musical specials, most notably "The Muppet Show" with Kermit and Miss Piggy and the Broadway musical It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman. Every year she can be seen in the annual specials, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," "Miracle at Moreaux," and "A Christmas Calendar," aired worldwide during the holidays. Her dynamic acting range has placed her in some heady company on the big screen as well. Ms. Swit has starred in such films as "Stand Up and Be Counted" with Jacqueline Bisset, "Freebie and the Bean" with James Caan and Alan Arkin, "Race With The Devil" with Peter Fonda, "Beer" opposite Rip Torn, Blake Edwards' "S.O.B." with Julie Andrews and William Holden, "Whoops Apocalypse" with Peter Cook and Herbert Lom, "Forrest Warrior" with Chuck Norris and "Board Heads" in which she co-starred with Bronson Pinchot. Onstage at her beloved Forestburgh Playhouse in New York state, she has been seen in The Apple Tree, Doubt, Equus, Murder Among Friends and Barefoot in the Park. Most recently she appeared at Totem Pole Playhouse in Pennsylvania in Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks.

Ms. Swit's wildlife series, "Those Incredible Animals," was shown twice weekly on the Discovery Channel for an amazing five-year run, and was viewed on Animal Planet, as well as being aired in over 30 countries. As impassioned about animals as she is about the theatre, Ms. Swit is 1st Vice President of Actors and Others For Animals, is an honorary Board member of The Wildlife Waystation, serves as Chairperson for the Hooved Animal Rescue Protection Society (HARPS), has acted as spokesperson for The Farm Sanctuary as well as the Humane Society of the U.S.(HSUS), and is an honorary board member of Ayla's Acres, a no-kill shelter in Florida. For her ceaseless humanitarian efforts, she has been named Woman of the Year by both the Animal Protection Institute and the International Fund For Animal Welfare. Ms. Swit's website ( will bring you into her world of Art, Animals and Activism.

RHODA LERMAN (Playwright) is known as a "writers' writer." When her first novel "Call Me Ishtar" was published in 1973 the New York Times termed her "a first novelist of formidable gifts." Her subsequently critically acclaimed, award-winning novels including "The Girl That He Marries," "The Book of the Night," "God's Ear," "Animal Acts" and "Eleanor" have received remarkable praise from the national and international press. As a speaker and writer, her work has been recognized and honored in India, Tibet, South America, and Europe. She has taught and lectured at major universities, including Ghent, Harvard, Wisconsin, Colorado, Syracuse, Buffalo, and California Institute of the Arts as consultant. She has served the State Department as an AMPART speaker. In 1979 her novel "Eleanor," based on years of extensive research, was hailed by critics as "beautiful, elegantly written, true as anything could be. An imaginative success, Lerman brings what has always been a stick figure in history to glowing, aching life." It is from this novel that Ms. Lerman adapted the play, Eleanor Roosevelt, HER SECRET JOURNEY.

Ron Nash (Production Supervision/Design/Production Stage Management) lists among his directorial credits Doubt, Song of Singapore, Love Letters, Shirley Valentine, and The Apple Tree, all starring Loretta Swit, The Wiz starring Peabo Bryson and Grace Jones, Murder Among Friends starring Lana Turner, Tammy Grimes, Arlene Dahl, and Loretta Swit. Janus starring Joan Fontaine, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas starring Stella Parton, Under Milkwood starring Judith Light, and national tours of Dreamgirls and Raisin, among others. Mr. Nash supervised the thirteen-year Broadway run of Oh! Calcutta!, which ranks as the fifth longest running musical in Broadway history, as well as directed and supervised productions in Tokyo, Oslo, Tel Aviv, Milan, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, and Toronto. Mr. Nash has been a Production Stage Manager on Broadway for many years, as well as with the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte in Central Park, the Joseph Papp Public Theatre, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, and the Coconut Grove Playhouse, among others. Since 1990 Mr. Nash has supervised the Theatre Guild's Theatre At Sea cruises to the Mediterranean, the Amazon, the Baltic, the Black Sea, and to Alaska with celebrities such as Alan Arkin, Lucie Arnaz, BrIan Bedford, Ed Asner, Zoe Caldwell, Carol Channing, John Davidson, Helen Hayes, Anne Jackson, Shirley Jones, Judy Kaye, Carol Lawrence, Patricia Neal, Jerry Orbach, Lee Roy Reams, Lynn Redgrave, Cliff Robertson, Gena Rowlands, Jean Stapleton, Loretta Swit, Eli Wallach, and Susannah York, among many others. Mr. Nash holds an MFA in directing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Eleanor Roosevelt, HER SECRET JOURNEY will open on Thursday, November 3 at 7:30pm and will also perform on Friday, November 4 at 7:30pm & Saturday, November 5 and Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 2:00pm at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.

Tickets range from $60 - $70 and can be purchased online at or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. The box office is open Mondays - Saturdays: 12p.m. to 5 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days); Sundays: 11a.m. - 4p.m. For more information on all shows and programming visit Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.

Founded in 1920, the historic Laguna Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously-operating not-for-profit theatres on the West Coast and is proud to be an active participant in the celebrated Laguna Beach arts community. From classic plays and musical comedies to the current off-Broadway smash, cutting edge and traditional music exhibitions, dance festivals and stand-up comedy performances, Laguna Playhouse brings the magical experience of the performing arts direct to over 80,000 patrons each season. A member of the League of Resident Theatres, Laguna Playhouse is also home to the annual Laguna Dance Festival, Laguna Beach Music Festival and Laguna Beach Concert Band.

Laguna Playhouse educational programming, includes year-round classes, productions by and for children and teens (Youth Theatre) and is one of the few companies in the region that offer a curriculum-based professional theatre-touring program, TheatreReach, which aligns with the California State Standards for literature, history and performing arts curriculum.

Serving more than 80,000 patrons each season, Laguna Playhouse has been recognized in 2016 and 2015 as one of Orange County Register's "Best of OC" in the category of Live Theatre. The Playhouse has featured many talented performers on stage, including Leslie Caron, Val Kilmer, Ed Asner, Hershey Felder, Donna McKechnie, Rita Rudner, violinist Joshua Bell, Lee Rocker, ballerina Misty Copeland, Harrison Ford, and Bette Davis.

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles View More Los Angeles Stories

More Hot Stories For You