Review: GLORIA: A LIFE at Wool Sutdio Theatre

The New Jewish Theatre Production Runs Through June 18th

By: Jun. 02, 2023
Review: GLORIA: A LIFE at Wool Sutdio Theatre

GLORIA: A LIFE is a play that celebrates the work of activist, writer and feminist organizer Gloria Steinem in her fight for women’s equality. Throughout decades, Steinem has dedicated her life to advancing the cause of women’s rights and this play provides an exceptional overview of her tireless efforts, but more notably, it illustrates how one finds their voice and raises it to effect meaningful societal change. In addition to telling Steinem’s story, the show highlights the women with whom she’s partnered over the past five decades to advance the dialogue and champion equal rights.

In The New Jewish Theatre’s production of GLORIA: A LIFE, Jenni Ryan embodies Gloria Steinem and narrates Steinem’s life from college student to famed activist and writer. She is surrounded by a talented all female cast, including Summer Baer, Kayla Ailee Bush, Sarah Gene Dowling, Carmen Celilia Retzer, Chrissie Watkins and Lizi Watt who step-in-and-out of characters to support Steinem’s story. Each of the actors take on multiple roles, floating in-and-out of scenes that move chronologically through the decades from the late 1950’s until the present day.

Jenni Ryan gives a magnificent performance as Steinem. She paints Steinem with human vulnerability. Her characterization elicits audience empathy as she exposes the incertitude Steinem experienced in her early work. Ryan illustrates Steinem finding her voice and ultimately demonstrates Steinem’s maturation to a confident activist who raises issues without fear. It is commendable that Ryan stepped into the role just a week before opening night due to a last-minute casting change and delivered a solid performance.

Director Sharon Hunter collaborates with her actors and technical crew to move the story through the decades. Props changes and minor wardrobe adjustments subtlety advance the time frame. Amanda Werre’s sound design effectively does the rest of the work to move the audience along using news clips, snips of interviews and music to establish the time period. Her work demonstrates how excellence in sound design can be used to advance the storyline.

This production of GLORIA: A LIFE is a relevant and entertaining production of a well-written narrative on the life of Gloria Steinem. The New Jewish Theatre’s production runs through Sunday, June 18, 2023 at the Wool Studio Theatre. For more information visit


DISNEY PRINCESS- THE CONCERT Comes To The Fabulous Fox Theatre, March 16 Photo
DISNEY PRINCESS- THE CONCERT Comes To The Fabulous Fox Theatre, March 16

Disney Princess - The Concert returns to the US in 2024 with Broadway stars Lissa deGuzman, Syndee Winters, and Anneliese van der Pol performing at the Fabulous Fox Theatre on March 16 at 2 & 7:30 PM. Tickets on sale September 29 at 10 AM.

Review: WRENS at The Kranzberg Arts Center Photo
Review: WRENS at The Kranzberg Arts Center

As a man I felt honored to be allowed these glimpses into what it is to be a woman.

Craig Carnelia Joins The Conservatory For The Performing Arts At Stephens College Photo
Craig Carnelia Joins The Conservatory For The Performing Arts At Stephens College

Broadway composer/lyricist Craig Carnelia joins The Conservatory for the Performing Arts at Stephens College as a Guest Artist, teaching 'Acting Through Song' for the fall semester. Learn more about Craig's esteemed career and his work with Broadway stars.


Kelly Howe follows up her incredible performance as Linda Ronstadt with another dynamic rock ‘n roll performance highlighting her immense range. She uses every type of timbre and quality from falsetto to chest/head voice and belt. While the song set won’t be revealed in this review in order to keep some of the mysterious fun of production, Howe does get to tear into the music of Jimi Hendrix, The Animals, Led Zeppelin, Tears for Fears, Patti Smith and Roy Orbison. Howe’s big voice delivers and rocks the house in a Stevie Nicks-esque performance. The music she and Hanrahan chose to include in this show offers something for everyone across generations of music lovers. The musical highlight of the night was 1978 hit “Because the Night” by The Patti Smith Band that was again covered in 1993 by 10,000 Maniacs featuring Natalie Merchant on vocals. Howe slayed this song while the audience nodded along with the drumbeat. One thing is certain, Howe knows how to deliver a rock ‘n roll song with grand panache.


#repshow# in[i]# Ben Jones: Let Me Be Frank
Blue Strawberry (10/15-10/15)
#repshow# in[i]# Joe Serafini from Disney+'s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
Blue Strawberry (10/27-10/28)
#repshow# in[i]# Trinity Irish Dance Company
Touhill Performing Arts Center (11/11-11/11)
#repshow# in[i]# Aladdin
Fox Theatre (12/12-12/17)
#repshow# in[i]# MJ
Fox Theatre (5/28-6/09)
#repshow# in[i]# Ailey II
Touhill Performing Arts Center (3/01-3/02)
#repshow# in[i]# The Book of Mormon (Non-Equity)
Fox Theatre (4/09-4/14)
#repshow# in[i]# Jesus and Johnny Appleweed's Holy Rollin' Family Christmas
New Line Theatre at the Grandel Theatre (11/30-12/16)
#repshow# in[i]# Mean Girls (Non-Equity)
Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts (2/05-2/07)
#repshow# in[i]# Company
Fox Theatre (2/27-3/10)

Recommended For You