On Saturday, March 25th at 7:30 p.m., Judith Present will present First Ladies at the Phelps Mansion Museum at 191 Court Street in Binghamton as the second show in their First Ladies Tour.
First ladies are never voted for, nor do they get paid; yet without them, our presidents would falter. Presidents wouldn’t remember names or faces, and would have trouble making decisions (even though they have plenty of advisers). Just like their husbands, first ladies are destined to reach eternal life, and a place in history where they can be written about and picked apart years after their deaths. In recent years, we have seen many of America’s first ladies campaign tirelessly to bring attention to issues important to them such as the environment, healthcare, drug abuse, and education, but it wasn’t always like that.
Judith Present’s play, First Ladies, gives the five Presidents’ wives a chance to tell their stories. The first is Dolley Madison, the love and light of James Madison and his saving grace in social environments. The second is a sad Mary Todd Lincoln who was misunderstood by the public. The third is Mamie Eisenhower, the queen of canasta parties, drinking, and cock fights. She used these distractions to alleviate her from loneliness and gossip about her husband’s alleged love affair. Lady Bird Johnson was a woman who found great emotional strength by having to put up with her husband LBJ. She also took over when Jackie Kennedy had a headache. And last but not least, Nancy Reagan protected her husband, even from his own children. She also took over the Presidency for Ronnie when she saw his debilitating illness worsen.
This performance will be accompanied by period music and costumes as the actresses give an honest assessment of who they are, letting the audience into their true feelings and secrets, and how they affected their husbands’ presidencies.
Admission is $15. For more information, please call (607) 722-4873.
Starring: Dawn Gould, Maryann Johnson, Deb Fisher, Bonnie Deforest, and Lisa Dutcher.