Closed 1h 40m
What the Constitution Means to Me (Broadway)
Midtown W
86

What the Constitution Means to Me (Broadway) NYC Reviews and Tickets

86%
(399 Reviews)
Positive
93%
Mixed
5%
Negative
2%
Members say
Relevant, Intelligent, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Clever

About the Show

Heidi Schreck's comic and hopeful exploration strives to breathe new life into our Constitution and imagines how it will shape the next generation of American women.

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Member Reviews (399)

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67
Overrated, Indulgent, Fluffy, Banal

See it if If you like the put down of men. Being dictated at. Good acting but plotline to dictatorial and as such, takes away from performance.

Don't see it if If you dont want to be lectured or realize that the Constitution is the constitution.

92
Relevant, Must see, Intelligent, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if Even better than it was off Broadway. A bit more polished and Schreck really delivers authenticity.

Don't see it if A must see. Should be required, especially in this time right now.

Critic Reviews (46)

March 31st, 2019

"Nothing less than a chronicle of the legal subjugation of women by men...It is a tragedy told as a comedy, a work of inspired protest, a slyly crafted piece of persuasion and a tangible contribution to the change it seeks. It is not just the best play to open on Broadway so far this season, but also the most important...Schreck gives a real and wrenching performance, not a speech…‘Constitution’ is one of the things we always say we want theater to be: an act of civic engagement."
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March 31st, 2019

"It’s the rare indie theater piece that doesn’t require intimacy...It’s theater in the old sense, the Greek sense, a place where civic society can come together and do its thinking and fixing...The text itself doesn’t seem to have changed since its Off Broadway run last year, yet the show has deepened, sweetened, and strengthened in its move to Broadway...Broadway’s oxygen has turned her into a wildfire. On the night I saw the show, the audience roared its response."
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March 31st, 2019

S.H.: "Schreck’s performance has developed muscles. It’s gotten more visceral — more risky and exposed. The pain of it all—and the defiance—is more visible underneath what she calls her ‘psychotic politeness’...Schreck has us in hand both as a performer and as the constructor of the play." I.C.: "And that’s ultimately what I found so bold and moving: That she unapologetically puts herself — and to some extent the story of other people left out of the Constitution — at the center of it."
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March 31st, 2019

"Few new works for the stage are as instantly, trenchantly timely...It's a play of ideas for which people are not just hungry but starved...It challenges us to step back and look at the bigger picture...The thoughtful craftsmanship that has gone into building the play is fully evident, notably in the skill with which Schreck relates her own history to the gaping holes in the Constitution where adequate protections for women should be...Unique, stimulating, and exquisitely heartfelt."
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March 31st, 2019

"With Tracy-Flick pluck, she dives into an energetic civics lesson. And soon, she springboards from the Ninth and 14th Amendments to talk about the women in her family, and about herself in the most personal terms...It’s no small achievement to eke laughs out of that material, but Schreck certainly does, her humor swinging from self-deprecating to the can-you-believe-these-guys variety...It is shaggily structured, but also original, which is to be celebrated."
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March 31st, 2019

"The engaging writer-performer is all smiles and so are we...But by the end of the show, we’ve been stirred — and challenged — by her penetrating insights into that document...Although she never drops her unthreatening demeanor of all-American niceness, Schreck takes a more acerbic tone as she works up to her true subject...To her credit, Schreck doesn’t let righteous anger curdle into polemics. On the contrary, she closes with an uplifting message."
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April 4th, 2019

"The problem is that Ms. Schreck, for whatever reason, is rarely willing to grapple directly, at least not for very long, with the raw emotions triggered by her truth-telling...A reminiscential lecture about feminism, thinly disguised as a play. I would have preferred the lecture on its own—Ms. Schreck is a phenomenally powerful storyteller—but 'What the Constitution Means to Me' wouldn’t have been nearly as popular had it not been sweetened up far past the point of indigestibility."
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March 31st, 2019

"Art can make a difference, it can improve you. But what does it take? Brutal honesty and plenty of facts. Schreck provides both in abundance—along with natural charisma and loads of humor. The piece is a model of how a playwright-performer can use the memoir-monologue and electrify it within a harrowing historical context...This ingenious play keeps peeling away its layers, to reveal a blood-chilling core truth: The Constitution isn’t here to protect you."
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March 31st, 2019

"Indelible, subversive, and audaciously funny...Schreck has carried a particular true-life story within her for 30-odd years, and she springs it on us when we need it most...Schreck, a monologist in a league with John Leguizamo and Spalding Grey, will shift back and forth from the girl she was to the woman she is...A word on the old speech. It’s terrific, in and of itself...As the play proceeds, Schreck deconstructs not only the Constitution, but her younger, more naive view."
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March 31st, 2019

"It would be hard to identify a work for the theater with its finger more cogently and rewardingly on the pulse of America right now...The endearingly funny evening...puts you contentedly in mind of one of our inalienable rights: the pursuit of happiness...Schreck is key to the play’s advanced level of enchantment. It’s her self-effacing buoyancy that sustains the piece, even at the few moments when it teeters on the brink of excessive digression."
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March 31st, 2019

"Singularly charming, politically urgent, and cathartically necessary...A delightfully free-form theatrical experience. This unconventional work is a hybrid creation, part play, part performance piece. The production, directed by Oliver Butler, brings into frolicsome dialogue an adult woman’s consciousness of contemporary fractured America with a youthful idealism that valiantly refuses to concede defeat...It personalizes the theatrical discussion in a powerfully emotional way."
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March 31st, 2019

"For progressive feminists and admirers of solo performers who can combine cheery didacticism with personal vulnerability, melding radical constitutional theory with genuine warmth and humor, this is a terrific time...a Broadway show for a moment of rapid ascendancy in personal narrative...Schreck is a gifted writer and this personal history is exceptionally compelling...It is enormously effective and offers something crucial to all political shows, which is hope for the future."
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March 31st, 2019

"A unique theatrical gem...You might be thinking the show is more like a high school civics class. I can guarantee it is not. And while it's somewhat disjointed, you're bound to learn a lot. The bottom line is that Schreck is highly entertaining, all the while engaging us with equal measures of humor and pathos."
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March 31st, 2019

"Schreck seems to float above time and space as she re-creates and rewrites her past...She also blasts through the artificial boundaries of form as she effortlessly gambols between memory play, confessional monologue, and political debate...Schreck is seriously funny, conveying her text with breathless charisma and a sunburst of a smile...Butler's production showcases Schreck's singular presence and helps us connect with her perspective through well-chosen visuals."
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March 31st, 2019

"Schreck's inescapably truthful, yet eventually hopeful autobiographical performance piece...The author plays her 15-year-old self, delivering a reconstructed version of the long-lost speech and responding to questions regarding the Fourteenth Amendment, with her present-day self, now in her 40s, adding her more experienced views...It's all an extraordinary balance of historical fact, legal analysis and personal experience presented with a warm, conversational tone."
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March 31st, 2019

"Quite a hodgepodge: part history lesson, part political analysis, part debate, part personal story, part feminist screed, and part meltdown. There is, in short, a lot going on, and it's not always easy to take, especially during those times when you may feel as though you are being lectured at...She connects with the audience with so much authenticity, it's sometimes easy to forget she's not making things up on the spot. Call it scripted spontaneity."
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March 31st, 2019

"Heidi demonstrates how she slayed opponents with a combination of knowledge, charm, humor and an ability to cater to the debate audiences...The teenagers are up to the level of Schreck; so is Iveson, who eventually steps out of his VFW uniform and contributes his own experience. Director Oliver Butler keeps things both moving and interesting...While Schreck’s performance is excellent, she has written a role that can stand very well on its own."
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March 31st, 2019

"Schreck has a visible, and contagious, passion for the subject—and a gift for conveying it to the crowd...While it’s certainly not a lecture, the show is undoubtedly an education...It would be enough if Schreck had made this simply her show—her memoir, her coming-of-age story, her take on the Constitution. But she dedicates the last section to debate with a high school student...It feels energizing and hopeful—and exactly what our country needs."
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March 31st, 2019

"Schreck’s self-deprecating comedy and acute delivery is so spot-on that you find yourself laughing for much of the evening...Schreck’s ability to mix evocative childhood memories with disquieting statistics is impressive...This play is truly a hybrid form, with elements of performance art, documentary theater, and contemporary stand-up...A performance redolent with wit, absorbing storytelling and infectious energy."
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April 5th, 2019

"This final sequence calls on the debaters to argue the question of whether, in light of all its inadequacies, the Constitution should be abolished altogether…This moment is somehow a little anticlimactic in light of all the engaging and thoughtful content preceding it. Nonetheless, 'What the Constitution Means to Me' is a must-see, especially considering everything the Constitution means to all of us at this particular stage of the American experiment."
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April 6th, 2019

"A true original: educational and funny, superbly performed, and blazingly topical…Schreck delivers an awesome performance, filled with anger, vulnerability, astuteness, and pain, but also with welcome dollops of humor…'Constitution' is absorbing, and there's a lot to absorb. It's an event that makes its lessons that much more pertinent by their connection to Schreck's experiences. When it's over, however, you may consider turning your attention to what the Constitution means to you."
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April 5th, 2019

"The new go-round, I'm pleased to report, is just as potent as its Off-Broadway outing. No substantive changes have been made to the play, except for a bit of trimming to the text and a few less Legionnaire's portraits lining the walls on stage. What does come across more on second viewing, however, is how the body politic is constantly changing in the United States, and how that political reality subtly informs Schreck's play."
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April 4th, 2019

"If this show, told mostly in monologue, is an overt tutorial on one of America’s founding documents, it is equally a master class in contemporary feminism...Her writing is filled with smart, comic pivots and, as sharply directed by Oliver Butler, she underplays the cruel absurdity of old dudes in robes making decisions about her body to full, devastating effect."
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April 4th, 2019

"As directed with a free-flowing and creative hand by Oliver Butler, it hits us deep and sharp, almost as complicated as the ripples of distrust and pain that strike through Schreck, shaking and overwhelming her composure that feels, most definitely, out of the box...It lightens my load, seeing the smart and funny 'What the Constitution Means to Me,' although my broken heart stays confused and perplexed in these trying times."
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April 1st, 2019

“This piece is a beautiful, amorphous exploration of constitutional law, the judicial system, and the oh-so important concept of equal rights for all...Schreck weaves the personal and political in such seamless ways that this never feels like a civics class, but instead like a compelling story...The entire play is miraculously fluid...A guidebook in how to do political theater and an exemplary example of the power of theater. It is a flawless, moving, and incredibly powerful masterpiece.”
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April 5th, 2019

"It’s a civics lesson that’s stimulated an extraordinary response...Schreck is a good storyteller. The play is informative, enlightening even...But on second viewing, on Broadway, I am not as carried away by this show as so many people seem to be, although I think I understand why they are...I have mixed feelings about the show’s transfer to Broadway...'Constitution' can still serve as a salve for the politically shell-shocked and disaffected; they just have to be a little richer."
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April 4th, 2019

"It is a profoundly resonant, personal, and tragicomic exploration of a document that likely affects every person in the audience, treating some in the house better than others...'Constitution' has lost neither its intimacy nor its immediacy...Schreck imbues her script and performance with specificity and resounding humor. Director Oliver Butler’s pacing helps laughs land, as does a winningly stiff performance from Mike Iveson who plays a debate moderator."
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C
April 1st, 2019

"You can feel comfortable enough to cry with her as she recounts the long history of shocking physical abuse many members of her mother's family experienced: a hideous pattern that her mother and father managed not to pass on...Just as importantly, she outlines the many violations of women's rights inherent in the Constitution, which for much of its 'life' did not deem as actual human beings worthy of protection, and how the Constitution still fails so many victims of domestic violence."
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March 31st, 2019

"Shattering, galvanizing, and very funny, Heidi Schreck’s ‘Constitution’ close reads an old text in new and breathlessly exciting ways...Persuasively, she conjures both that brace-faced Patrick Swayze-swooning teenager, and the woman she became...In its specificity and generosity, it is capacious enough to move with the times...The show feels a little broader than it did Off-Broadway, a little spikier, a little more frenetic...A more perfect solo show? Broadway won’t see one for years."
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T
April 3rd, 2019

"Though the script may have been rehearsed, it feels as if the small company is saying the words and evoking these sentiments for the first time. The play is different, attention-grabbing, and as relevant as the latest headline, performed and written with a passion for justice, a must-see."
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April 1st, 2019

"Easily the most important play on Broadway this season, or in any season...Schreck’s performance is a brave and magnificent public act of personal storytelling that is so artfully crafted and masterfully delivered that it feels wholly extemporaneous, as if each performance were summoned from whole cloth. That’s a testament to her incisive writing and virtuosic acting, and director Oliver Butler’s razor-sharp guidance...A must-see."
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T
March 31st, 2019

"This is still a sharply timely play, and it is both hopeful and painful, but mostly, hopeful—and a hearteningly diverse Broadway audience responds volubly in kind...The sharpest parts of the production are Schreck talking about her personal experiences around abortion and male violence against women...Shreck is such an engaging performer, she still somehow cleverly studs wit into this confessional, noting that she got pregnant while playing Miss Julie."
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March 31st, 2019

"The result is by turns deeply funny, heart wrenching, inspirational, and one of the most searing and enlightening pieces of political theatre in recent memory...Get yourself to the Helen Hayes Theatre. You’re in excellent company...It’s more than timing that makes Schreck’s performance one of the most thrilling and alive on New York stages right now. Schreck is a remarkably sincere storyteller with a gift for staying uncannily present in the room and in the moment."
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C
April 5th, 2019

"A striking look at a document we should be familiar with since it governs and compels our every waking moment...Schreck offers a riveting opportunity to revisit vital segments of the document...It is a fabulous and exciting way to learn about our constitution...A peppery, unique and delightful evening out. It is also slap-in-your-face get 'woke' time in what Schreck reveals to us about who we are and where we’ve come from."
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April 20th, 2019

"Director Oliver Butler keeps a casual, energetic delivery. Schreck breezes ahead bringing out a bright, naive, imaginative girl who evolves into a woman of admirable perception of the Constitution, fascinated by its facets...With a spirit of spontaneity and, yes, optimism, Schreck's play ties the founding document with today's political events...This is a spot-on informative conversation, delivered with gregarious humor and heart, plenty of laughs and also some tears."
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April 9th, 2019

"Unfortunately, this Frankenstein's monster doesn't quite cohere...The relationship between performer and audience strictly preacher-choir. Though the president is never named, his influence on the court haunts the entire proceedings, and we get to boo and hiss at recognizable villains like Antonin Scalia. Perhaps this has a cathartic effect for some, but for me, in the context of a Broadway theater, the applause felt empty and self-congratulatory."
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April 1st, 2019

"One of the most original and thrilling pieces on Broadway...Schreck radiates star presence, and as directed by Oliver Butler, this is 100 well-spent minutes."
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March 31st, 2019

"Part civics lesson, part TED Talk, part memoir. Ultimately it poses more questions — serious questions — than it answers...The story gets heartbreakingly personal. It's easy to think of this as a one-woman play, but Schreck is not alone. Mike Iveson is appropriately understated but gets some good laughs as the Legionnaire moderator, charged with keeping the young speaker on track and on time as she dissects the document she both cherishes and questions."
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March 31st, 2019

"A brainy consideration of whether the United States Constitution ultimately does more harm than good for women, people of color and other underrepresented people...This formally complicated show (mostly a monologue, sometimes a play, occasionally improvised) is now a beautifully-oiled machine...It demands that we reconsider everything we thought we knew from the perspective of one woman’s very specific, but powerfully universal, life experience."
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April 1st, 2019

"With the assistance of director Oliver Butler, she navigates weighty, traumatic issues with laughter and a lightness of touch...Schreck alternates adult world-weariness with a chipper teenage smile, Iveson is drolly deadpan in his supporting turn and the two radiate unspoken-warmth to each other throughout. Between them, they create a powerful onstage debate that delivers a political punch to the gut."
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March 31st, 2019

"A show that seems to be ripped from the headlines...Shreck jumps between embodying her teenage self and a modern fortysomething in the era of Trump. It’s the latter who’s able to reflect on her accumulated knowledge of both her family history and her more grown-up understanding of American history...Schreck is an engaging storyteller with a delivery that seems improvised even when she is sticking to her winding but always-focused script."
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April 4th, 2019

"Ms. Schreck is a gifted storyteller and her enthusiasm for the Constitution and her own progressive politics and feminism shines through her ebullient delivery... She is such an entertaining speaker that it is easy to overlook the way she sometimes repeats her points...However, we soon realize repetition is not the show’s only flaw. Would have worked great as a one-woman monologue, but unfortunately the remainder of the show becomes jumbled with unnecessary filler."
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M
March 31st, 2019

"This earnest production is a cauldron of comedy that represents Heidi's personal history along with American history...She convinces us winningly with her earnest & energetic run-on soliloquies of sophisticated intellect with innocent jubilation...Schreck's ingratiating & informal performance enhances an exciting exchange of provocative ideas and information that make 'Constitution' a meaningful substantive show."
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April 1st, 2019

"Heidi Schreck’s breathtaking, autobiographical exorcism of an American civic ethos is unafraid to tear up the document it reveres...Necessary theater for anyone interested in the human spirit and how it might survive our contemporary political moment...What’s most innovative about this play is its form. There is no separation between Heidi and her audience."
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A
April 1st, 2019

“Part memoir, part delightfully wonky speech-and-debate exercise, Schreck’s play puts the narrative of her own life and that of her family in contention with the history of our nation’s founding document. And what emerges...is a visceral sense of lives lived in the shadow of laws...Schreck’s arguments are couched in a lovingly handmade entertainment that can be as funny as it is profound...The exhilarating, all-stops-out debate...Is one of Broadway’s most unlikely emotional highs.”
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March 31st, 2019

"A coping mechanism for Schreck and, by extension, the audience. It’s a way to confront the very real present traumas of America through the veil not just of a hopeful (and naïve) 15-year-old, but through her emotionally guarded younger self...Its shifting between past and present allows Schreck to potently invert the traditional way in which comedy cuts the tension of a tragedy."
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