The play, to be directed by Diane Paulus (Waitress) and produced by Tony-winning producer Daryl Roth (Kinky Boots) at the Daryl Roth Theatre on Union Square in Manhattan, will begin previews Tuesday, October 2 and open Thursday, October 18.
“Gloria Steinem helped me find feminism, which has been my life jacket, a way to navigate through a world that doesn’t treat girls and women like full human beings,” Lahti said upon her casting. “For over forty years, she has worked tirelessly to enrich, empower and save women’s lives. To be able to play her and tell her remarkable story is one of the greatest thrills and honors of my life, not to mention my career.”
Said Steinem: “I’m honored to be represented by Christine, and I know I will learn from her insights, too.”
The casting was announced by producer Roth. The production team has previously announced an all-female creative and producing team.
Lahti’s stage credits include God of Carnage, The Heidi Chronicles, Present Laughter, Suzan-Lori Parks’ Fucking A and Three Hotels, among many others. Films include Swing Shift, Running on Empty, Leaving Normal, and …and Justice for All, while TV appearances include Chicago Hope, Grace and Frankie, Hawaii Five-O and Law & Order SVU.
Mann’s play is described by the production as weaving “together personal and history-changing moments of the past fifty years, from consciousness among a few women, to the majority tipping point of national and global consciousness that we are now witnessing. Starting with Gloria’s early adventures as a rare female reporter, the revelations of the play include stories of the people who inspired her and led her to inspire others.”
Act One will focus on Steinem’s personal life and activism, while Act Two will take the form of a “Talking Circle” in which the audience will be invited to carry the themes of the play “into a conversation of their own.”
Explained Steinem, “What makes me feel enthusiastic about this whole idea is that after Act One about my life, the audience will take over and become a talking circle with a life of its own. During many years of traveling and organizing, I’ve come to have great faith in the magic of people talking together after a shared experience. Computers may give us information, but only being together with all five senses creates empathy and action.”
Roth says, “We feel it’s incredibly important to be telling this story at this moment in time, Gloria’s life and all she has accomplished brings us hope, reminding us how far we’ve come, and inspiring a new generation to go further.”
Lahti is repped by ICM Partners and managed by Echo Lake.
In an unrelated Steinem bio-project, director Julie Taymor is planning the biopic My Life on the Road, written by Sarah Ruhl and starring Julianne Moore as Steinem.