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BWW Review: THE SECOND MRS WILSON at GSP is a Must-See Play


"Men, no matter how principled, make mistakes."

-The Second Mrs. Wilson

The Second Mrs. Wilson is now on the George Street Playhouse (GSP) stage through November 29th and it is the show to see. This superb play is written by Joe DiPietro and enjoys excellent direction by Gordon Edelstein. Metro area audiences should cherish the opportunity to experience this production on the New Brunswick stage. It is much more than a portrayal of American History. It is a vibrant, wonderfully performed story of love and political maneuvering that will resound with all theatergoers.

Set in the second decade of the 1900's, the inside story of Woodrow Wilson's presidency is revealed. After the death of his first wife Ellen, Wilson soon falls hopelessly in love with Edith Bolling. Bolling is a loving but tenacious woman who becomes a trusted consultant to the president. Their relationship and marriage causes real conflict between Wilson and his advisors, particularly with Colonel Edward House who Wilson has regarded as a "brother." With World War II looming in Europe, Wilson has the weight of the world on his soldiers. To complicate matters, the Republicans, led by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge hold congressional power and oppose the president's policies. Wilson is a "man of God," an idealist who envisions an international League of Nations that will maintain world peace. With Wilson's failing health, Edith vows to protect him and keep his presidency and goals intact. But there are escalating tensions, negative public opinion and the threat that the Vice President, Thomas Marshall, could succeed Wilson while he is infirmed.

GSP has assembled a stellar cast that captures the true spirit of Woodrow Wilson's administration and personal life. John Glover masters the role of Wilson, just as you imagine him, and brings the 28th United States President to life before your eyes. Laila Robins as Edith is the only female character in the play. Robins maintains the ideal tenor for her role as the doting and determined first lady. The portrayals of the men that surround the president contribute real context to life and times of Woodrow Wilson. The acting is extraordinary with Sherman Howard as Senator Henry Cabot, Michael McGrath as Secretary Joe Tumulty, Richmond Hoxie as Vice President Thomas Marshall, Stephen Spinella as Colonel Edward House, and Stephen Barker Turner as Dr. Cary Grayson. Christopher C. Gibbs, Brian McCann and Andre Penn play the Attendants.

The set with its formal furnishings works wonderfully to bring the story to life along with fine costuming and technical effects. The creative team includes set design by Alexander Dodge, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Ben Stanton and sound design by John Gromada. Calleri Casting did the casting and Thomas Clewell is the Production Stage Manager.

The Second Mrs. Wilson is a thought-provoking piece of theatre that explores issues of war, internationalism, party loyalty and political tension. This must-see production is at George Street Playhouse through November 29th. The show a running time of 2 hours, 3 minutes with one 15-minute intermission. The theatre is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, New Jersey in the heart of the city's vibrant arts and restaurant district. To purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 732.246.7717 or visit

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson

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From This Author Marina Kennedy