Closed 1h 30m
(Off-Broadway) What the Constitution Means to Me
West Village
85

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

85%
(249 Reviews)
Positive
96%
Mixed
3%
Negative
1%
Members say
Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Clever

About the Show

This witty and searingly personal exploration of the Constitution strives to breathe new life into our founding document and imagine how it will shape the next generation of American women.

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (249)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
66
Banal, Cliched, Fluffy, Indulgent

See it if It you want to see something that is more a civics class then a play.

Don't see it if If you want a show. Its between a lecture and a play

75
Relevant, Funny, Political, Intelligent, Indulgent

See it if Mostly, a solo actress lauds key parts of the constitution but also criticizes it for not doing enough to protect women from male violence.

Don't see it if Entertaining and informative story, but indulges the actress’s family & personal history to the point of feeling more like an autobiography

Critic Reviews (25)

December 2nd, 2018

"Schreck’s extraordinary show...Funny and infuriated, analytical and confessional, erudite and heartbreaking...Though the show often feels informal and spontaneous, it is actually all scripted...The remarkable mix of civic lesson and storytelling finds its fullest expression when Schreck takes us through the 14th amendment...It’s hard to imagine a more timely show...It is really about what the Constitution means to all of us."
Read more

October 1st, 2018
For a previous production

"The production feels less like a finished play than an endlessly open-ended conversation, being invented on the spot...Personally, I could have done with a bit more theatrical manipulation throughout, with more varied heightening of tone and pace. At times, listening to Ms. Schreck can feel like reading page after page of unpunctuated, unparagraphed prose. But if the show still has the shapelessness of a work-in-progress, that’s appropriate to the subject, isn’t it?"
Read more

September 30th, 2018
For a previous production

"The show offers a compelling mix of earnest sweetness and thundering mountaintop fury. As the show began on the 27th, though, the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings were still ringing in the audience’s ears, and Schreck—a fizzy presence—cried through nearly the entire performance. So did I. Yet there is more in Schreck’s piece than a pure appeal to emotion; there’s a deep and rational argument about the purpose of rhetoric, the value of giving a girl a podium."
Read more

October 1st, 2018
For a previous production

"By telling us about herself, Schreck shows us ourselves, our country, our own shared history. 'What the Constitution Means to Me' isn’t political commentary, which moves one way and often tells us what we already know. Rather, it’s a masterful act of storytelling, blending unflinching vulnerability, nimble humor, and acute analysis to inspire revelation. It’s a play that expands beyond itself, offering an immensely powerful model for modern civic theater."
Read more

October 4th, 2018
For a previous production

"The scattershot, seemingly improvised style of the piece is both its major strength and weakness. Schreck’s unpredictability and hyperactivity can be enlivening...That being said, many sections are repetitive, rambling and hard to follow. It is a show that manages to feel thin and overwhelming at the same time. Premiering in the midst of the Senate vote on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Schreck probably could not have picked a better time to do her show."
Read more

September 30th, 2018
For a previous production

“I left the theater with an electric current running through my body the likes of which I haven't felt since 'Hamilton'...An X-ray examination of our republic's founding document that brilliantly straddles the border between ode and indictment...Schreck approaches her subject with such implacable enthusiasm...Her supernova energy is as infectious as it is disarming...'What the Constitution Means to Me' ought to run at least as long as our country does."
Read more

October 10th, 2018
For a previous production

“Shreck’s inescapably truthful, yet eventually hopeful autobiographical performance piece...An extraordinary balance of historical fact, legal analysis, and personal experience presented with a warm, conversational tone. Though the piece is directed by Oliver Butler, you could find yourself wondering if Schreck's occasional moments where she needs to stop and compose herself are staged or natural occurrences. They are that realistic.”
Read more

October 10th, 2018
For a previous production

“Schreck's fearless, funny examination of the American legal system...Schreck is a charmer, an innately witty performer whose passion for the subject shines through...For three quarters of its running time, 'What the Constitution Means to Me' creates drama as Schreck pursues her argument, weaving together legal history with her personal story and elegantly posing some very troubling questions....Oliver Butler's direction keeps the enterprise engaging even when it veers off."
Read more

October 2nd, 2018
For a previous production

“A thrilling performance piece; as provocative as it is political...What Schreck goes on to reveal in her explanation of how her viewpoint on the Constitution has matured involves her family's dark history...all of which Schreck neatly and tidily connects to the rights not afforded to women...A searing and compelling argument, told to us in a non-threatening matter-of-factness that's stunning for its abundance of clarity and reason.”
Read more

September 30th, 2018
For a previous production

"The unique outing is a barrel of laughs, while at the same time being seriously instructive...I bought the debate’s spontaneity. I bought Schreck’s whole kit and caboodle for the same reason that underneath the laughter and her quick way with an adlib, she means everything she’s saying...She’s vastly amusing, all right, but she’s also unmistakably politically engaged. You love her for it."
Read more

September 30th, 2018
For a previous production

"The play is an anguished, deeply personal, and ultimately hopeful look at whose rights are protected and respected under our governing document and whose are not... Schreck is a warm, engaging presence, and her script, too, conveys an ingratiating conversational warmth. But what makes the play so impressive, and so necessary, is Schreck’s earnest, well-intentioned interest in reckoning not just with what’s gone wrong in our system, but also what’s gone right."
Read more

October 8th, 2018
For a previous production

"'What the Constitution Means to Me' succeeds as a novel personal exploration but gets sidetracked by ambitiousness...Mr. Iveson later on drops his character and states that he is gay and recounts incidents of homophobia. As heartfelt as these asides are, they don’t quite jell with the rest of the show...Director Oliver Butler’s smooth staging yields momentum and plentiful creative imagery."
Read more

September 30th, 2018
For a previous production

"What does the Constitution mean to playwright-actress Heidi Schreck? Any number of sharply observed, pointedly challenged, deeply appreciated, and honestly questioned things, which comprise 'What the Constitution Means to Me'...'Constitution' has a couple of false notes, but they’re truly minor...Schreck is a marvel. Her mostly monologue has the casual intimacy of a conversation with a friend and the authority of encyclopedic erudition."
Read more

October 8th, 2018
For a previous production

"Of all the shows opening this season, Heidi's Schreck's 'What the Constitution Means to Me' best captures the mood of the moment in our country...It's a real eye-opener to what the Constitution is, and how it has evolved from the time our Founding Fathers wrote and presented it in 1787 as the backbone of our justice system...Though the show is never boring it can be confusing at times to know which part of Heidi's psyche we are eavesdropping on."
Read more

October 9th, 2018
For a previous production

“A souped up TED TalK...An excellent and passionate argument in favor of the Constitution...Schreck is so adept and facile that we are willing to follow her...There are odd, unneeded elements included in this production...Iveson is given the thankless task of fulfilling the part of the contest moderator...Also not needed is the debate with a high school student...All in all, Schreck’s is an electric presentation. One only wishes she would be presenting it for a joint session of Congress.”
Read more

October 10th, 2018
For a previous production

“Powerful evocative new play...As directed with a free-flowing and creative hand...it hits us deep and sharp, almost as complicated as the ripples of distrust and pain that strike through Schreck...The effortless grace of Schreck, pulling hard from her past experiences and history, solidifies the experience in such a compelling and moving way that one can’t help but be moved...I applaud Schreck for giving us a debate that feels so pure and required.”
Read more

October 9th, 2018
For a previous production

“'What the Constitution Means to Me,' slightly unwieldy creature that it is, hit me with exquisite timeliness in this historical micro-moment One strength of the show is the way in which it wraps a sophisticated argument...around a nuanced look at exactly the ways in which women grapple with the fear of not being safe in their bodily integrity or protected by the law...The show—like America right now—blends the personal and the political in ways that are as inextricable."
Read more

T
October 26th, 2018
For a previous production

"Schreck transitions between past and present, between her fifteen-year-old self and her adult self. This convention allows her to both focus on the speech and on her feelings about the Constitution 'then and now'...In an electrifying performance, Ms. Schreck ricochets between decade and generations...This is a challenging play and an important one. Directed by Oliver Butler, Ms. Schreck uses every tool of rhetorical argument to make her case."
Read more

C
September 30th, 2018
For a previous production

"But more than mere memoir, Schreck's work, smartly and simply directed here by Oliver Butler, puts the many violations of human rights over the past two centuries into context while also succinctly explaining the document that both let them happen, and ultimately, stopped some of them from continuing."
Read more

October 14th, 2018
For a previous production

"Schreck…delivers an awesome performance, filled with anger, vulnerability, astuteness, and pain, but also with welcome dollops of humor…'What the Constitution Means to Me' is absorbing, and there's…a lot in to absorb. It's an educational, if decidedly polemical, event that makes its lessons that much more pertinent by their connection to Schreck's personal experiences. When it's over, however, you may consider turning your attention to what the Constitution means to you."
Read more

October 1st, 2018
For a previous production

"It combines memoir, civics lesson, polemic, debate and Q&A into a piece that is both engaging and frustratingly disjointed...Ms. Schreck is a very appealing performer, which made the event more enjoyable than my summary might suggest. Much of it is quite entertaining, as well as educational. Nevertheless, it does ramble rather aimlessly. Its inner logic escaped me."
Read more

October 1st, 2018
For a previous production

"Schreck is an engaging storyteller with a delivery that seems improvised even when she is sticking to her winding but always-focused script...The wonderfully composed 14-year-old Rosdely Ciprian astonished at my performance. Despite the depressing state of the news (and our Twitter feeds) about the fragility of our democracy, Ciprian sends the audience out with an almost buoyant hope for the future."
Read more

October 6th, 2018
For a previous production

“This is important stuff and Schreck is an amiable guide but there’s an amorphous quality to this show that struck me as making it less like a theatrical piece and more like a TED Talk, albeit an engaging one...Schreck pretty much keeps to the script she’s written but...she regularly strays into asides that add to the running time but don't add much to the message she’s trying to get across...There are some attempts to inject a little drama...But their connection to the constitution seems strained.”
Read more

October 14th, 2018
For a previous production

"Part civics lesson, part memoir—at once bittersweet and beautiful—Schreck’s mostly one-woman play...recounts her formative experience of wrestling with the constitution’s meaning as a teenager through the lens of her adult self, the women in her family, and the bitterly divided nation it serves. Heartbreaking, humorous, brilliant, and profoundly important, this is a must-see event of the fall season.”
Read more

September 30th, 2018
For a previous production

"By turns deeply funny, heart wrenching, inspirational, and one of the most searing and enlightening pieces of political theatre in recent memory...Schreck, who began developing this piece 10 years go, is a remarkably sincere storyteller with a gift for remaining uncannily present in the room and in the moment...'What the Constitution Means to Me' feels unmistakably alive — like a vital conversation, a sit-in, a seance of sorts for the soul of the country."
Read more

Watch This Next (3)

83
Great
1K+ Reviews
Open run
NYC: East Village

This family-friendly show celebrates the power of percussion and the sheer joy of banging on things.

Buy
82
Great
500+ Reviews
Open run
NYC: Midtown W

An actor drinks heavily (in the vein of Comedy Central's 'Drunk History') and then tries to corral others into…

Buy
81
Great
30 Reviews
Opens Aug 09
NYC: Upper W Side

Shakespeare in the Park is back this summer with Jocelyn Bioh's joyous adaptation of "Merry Wives."

Buy