New York | 1h 40m | Ends Jul 21

What the Constitution Means to Me (Broadway)

From 45 critic and 111 member reviews
Members say: Relevant, Absorbing, Intelligent, 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. More…

Fifteen-year-old Heidi Schreck earned her college tuition money by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In her boundary-breaking new play, the Obie Award winner resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women in her own family and the founding document that dictated their rights and citizenship. 

1h 40m | Ends Jul 21 | Helen Hayes Theatre (Midtown W)

New York Daily News

"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." Full Review

Tim Teeman

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Carole Di Tosti

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The Wrap

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Los Angeles Times

"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." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"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." Full Review

Broadway News

"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." Full Review

America Magazine

“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 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.” Full Review

Slant Magazine

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"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." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"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." Full Review

New York Theater

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Moving and emotional, Absorbing

See it if You care about this country and want to see a beautiful emotional tribute to the document that impacts our daily lives

Don't see it if You are a conservative Republican or a Jesus Freak.

Deeply personal, Relevant

See it if What the Constitution has, or more importantly hasn't done, for people it wasn't originally written for: non-land owning white men.

Don't see it if Rights, the Constitution, or feminism don't interest you. One-ish person shows aren't your thing.

Also Ticket from in-person rush for $42. Front row to the side.

Refreshing, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if See it if you enjoy productions about historical/current events presented in a refreshingly, entertaining format.

Don't see it if Don't see it if non-fiction bores you.

Entertaining, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great story telling, Great acting

See it if You like well acted thought provoking plans that are also entertaining

Don't see it if You prefer fluffy plays or musicals.

Engaging, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a beautiful think-piece. it is emotionally performed and is highly relevant. you want to be mentally engaged and challenged

Don't see it if you are looking for a play that entertains. this is not a drama or comedy but rather a reflection piece. it is highly personal

Intelligent, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you are interested in political subjects that inform and bring you closer to understanding. Some parts are especially moving.

Don't see it if you prefer something light and fictional. Are not interested in American politics.

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Funny

See it if well-written yet light to get the audience to think about issues yet hear the personal story of one woman.

Don't see it if need lots of interaction and characters. not the kind of show to just sit back and listen - one needs to engage with it.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if You want to laugh and be moved. This show is very thought provoking. It’s also funny and almost casual in its messaging. Well worth goin

Don't see it if You want a 90 minute show that runs close to two hours for no good reason. Cuts needed or it comes dangerously close to self important.

Relevant, Profound, Intelligent, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you are interested in discussion of why we are where we are politically. An excellent acting/writing job from Heidi Schreck

Don't see it if you want an old fashioned well made play

Intense, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Relevant

See it if you enjoy one-person show (with cameos by a few others) that relate a person’s life experience.

Don't see it if you go to a Broadway show primarily for the entertainment value; there isn’t much here. It doesn't feel like a big enough show for Broadway.

Examines the constitution and the redesigning process

See it if you will leave the theater with a better understanding of what the constitution means to YOU!

Don't see it if Congrats on bway transfer. Schreck shares personal stories of four generations of women in her family...

Also ... immigration, reproductive rights and what women had to do to risk ... Read more Read less

Relevant, Slow, Intelligent, Great writing, Funny

See it if want want to hear a story about her life.

Don't see it if you want to see a musical

Profound, Should be seen, More psa than play, Important, Fast-talking

See it if You have an open-mind and think that questioning the U.S. constitution is a good thing. Even if you are an Originalist, you should see it.

Don't see it if You like plays to be more than a one-person show and don't want to feel lectured to. You have hearing issues; there is fast talking debate.

Edgy, Intelligent, Great writing, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You are interested in the constitution in terms of woman’s rights.

Don't see it if You are not interested in women’s rights, The ERA, the Constitution, The 14th Amendment and or debating.

Thought-provoking, Quirky, Relevant, Intelligent, Clever

See it if you want to understand how the constitution figures in the lives of real people day to day with real stories/real issues, and a female pov!

Don't see it if you don't like intelligent thought-provoking theatre by a female performer who is sweet and smart! You don't like a good debate or solo show

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if discussion of ideas holds your interest. I drifted away a few times, although did like the take on the Constitution's personal impact.

Don't see it if You're looking for Broadway style entertainment. This is like watching The West Wing, but not as good.

Relevant, Funny, Delightful

See it if You want a smart relevant piece of theater that doesn't pander with cheap Trump jokes, but instead engages a conversation.

Don't see it if You find Ted Talks grating. It has that vibe sometimes.

Also Ultimately, I had a great time at this show, except for the end with t... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if Great acting by Heidi Schreck, who really captivates the audience, particularly in the first 20 minutes. Interesting topic, very relevant.

Don't see it if This show probably won't appeal to conservatives.

Also The show starts of strong and full of energy. However, half-way throug... Read more Read less

Funny, Ambitious, Slow, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if If you want very interesting, intelligent, relevant insight about our constitution. The performers are bang on, the content is important.

Don't see it if I only low-balled because I found the story-telling to be a tad boring. It was slightly too lecture-like for me. Slightly. I’d fight myself.

Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Overrated

See it if if you like your theater on the dry side; you love Samantha Bee, NPR and/or TED Talks; you want theater that screams "look-how-smart-I-am."

Don't see it if you are looking for emotion, comedy or provocation. This keeps you at a very safe distance at all times.

Also Given all of the great reviews, I was very disappointed. I expected to... Read more Read less

Slow, Overrated, Excruciating, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You you like being lectured to and enjoy put downs of men. Best set at an AA meeting. Young actress the hit of the night.

Don't see it if Very disappointing despite great reviews. It’s a cheap knock-off of a Michael Moore performance who can actually discuss the real issues

Also based on fact. It’s a feminist lecture with delivery best served in th... Read more Read less

Overrated, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You love feminism & storytelling. Parts of it were good but lost me after an hour & it got repetitive

Don't see it if You don’t like well deserved male bashing or are embarrassed by the constitution

Thought-provoking, Slow, Disappointing, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you like feminist plays.

Don't see it if you do not like feminist plays.

Also What seemed promising, turned into a "I hate men" tirade. Belongs Off-... Read more Read less

Tried so hard, Underwhelming, Basic, Banal, Dated

See it if you're a Liberal Boomer Tourist who wants to pat themselves on the back for listening to something slightly challenging in a safe setting.

Don't see it if You want radical theater to be actually radical. You think that feminism should be intersectional. You think class/money influences the law.

Boring, just boring

See it if You want to see yet another sob story wrapped in a cloak promising so much more. Or, if you haven't had your fill of soap opera-ish tales.

Don't see it if you really are expecting an interesting, illuminating evening. This quickly devolves into a high school-worthy venture that went off course

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Cast & Creatives (6)