Alice: an evening with the tart-tongued daughter of Theodore Roosevelt

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Joy Davidson plays Alice at the Naples Center for the Performing Arts

Joy Davidson plays Alice at the Naples Center for the Performing Arts

One woman show with a ghost - 1f, 1m - 70 minutes

It's June of 1971. Tricia Nixon is getting married. And every reporter in town is determined to interview the last bride married in the White House, 80-something year old Alice Roosevelt Longworth.

Alice was the ultimate political celebrity. Her father was perhaps America's favorite President, Theodore Roosevelt; she married a future Speaker of the House. She was tall, gorgeous, and outrageous. Every other sentence she uttered was a sound bite with teeth that still nip. She meant it when she said, “If you haven’t got anything good to say about anyone, come and sit by me.” Everywhere she went, Alice made headlines for her shocking behavior. It drove her father crazy.

In the play, Alice delights in telling her story to an unseen reporter – and to our audience. She offers her opinions on Richard Nixon, – and half a dozen other presidents she knew in her long lifetime. She rather likes the tear gas sprayed in the streets of Washington to discourage anti-war protesters – she’d stick her head out her front door to “clear her sinuses.” But as Alice retells her favorite stories, she finds herself trying to justify her “gadfly” existence to herself – and to her father. Alice forever lived under the shadow of her famous father. The ghost of TR haunts the play – and Alice – and questions Alice’s version of events. He forces her to confront the truths in her own life: her unhappy relationship with her daughter, her jealousy of her cousin Eleanor Roosevelt, the infidelity of her husband, her own marital indiscretion, and her lifelong mantra of “me first.”

Welcome to an evening with the ultimate political celebrity: Alice Roosevelt Longworth.

Photos by Debi Pittman Wilkey

Photos by Debi Pittman Wilkey

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Production History

  • Capital Fringe Fest, Washington, DC - √ Critics Pick – The Washington Post - “Vivid enough that one might expect T.R. to rise from the grave and start wagging his finger at his devil-may-care daughter."

  • Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, Florida

  • Miranda Theatre, New York City

  • The National Theatre, Washington, D.C.

  • Staged Reading: Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, New York City

Awards:

Winner, Open Book/Fireside Theatre Playwriting Competition Runnerup, The Little Theatre of Alexandria Annual Playwriting Competition Finalist, Southwest Theatre Association New Play Contest 1996