Just like at political gatherings, the confetti fell when the five actors starring in Forward Theater’s 44 Plays for 44 Presidents took their bows at the end of opening night.
As the play wound through more than 200 years of history, the audience’s progressive stripes showed. Applause broke out when Teddy Roosevelt’s efforts to put 230 million acres of land under federal protection were mentioned, and again when one actor read a list of safety-net measures enacted under FDR.
But there was laughter too, including to Obama’s reaction upon taking office after George W. Bush: “Oh, what a mess.”
At the end of the play, actors handed out voter registration forms, imploring audience members that even if they were registered they should pass the forms to someone who wasn’t. And they reminded people about current voting rules: “You do not need a photo ID to vote!”
- Judith Davidoff