Elaine Bromka plays Lady Bird, Pat Nixon and Betty Ford
Three former First Ladies will be sharing secrets at the Depot Theatre on Sunday, Feb. 3, in the one-woman show, Tea for Three: Lady Bird, Pat & Betty.
Written by Eric H. Weinberger with Elaine Bromka, and starring the Emmy Award-winning Bromka, the play is a reimagining of three women who suddenly found themselves celebrities — a behind-the-scenes look at Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon and Betty Ford, revealing the personal cost of what Pat Nixon called the “hardest unpaid job in the world.”
Bromka has over 30 years’ experience in film and television, on and off Broadway. She appeared as the mom in Uncle Buck with John Candy, as Stella on Days of our Lives, and on E.R., The Sopranos, and Law and Order.
The inspiration for Tea for Three came about when Bromka starred opposite Rich Little in The Presidents, which she performed across the country and on PBS. Called upon to impersonate eight of the most recent first ladies, she ended up spending months poring over videotapes of the women. Studying nuances of their body language and speech patterns to explore psychologically why they moved and spoke as they did, she became more and more drawn in by their personalities.
“These were women of intelligence and grit who suddenly found themselves in a fishbowl,” Bromka observed. “I realized I wanted to tell the story from their point of view.”
“And I wanted to explode myths. Pat was called ‘Plastic Pat’ in the press, for example, because she was always smiling. Look more closely at her eyes, though. There’s nothing plastic about her. You see the eyes of a private, watchful survivor.”
Her collaborator, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Award nominee Weinberger, is the author of several off-Broadway plays, including Wanda’s World and Class Mothers ’68. He and Bromka zeroed in on the three women, linking their stories by revealing each one at the threshold moment of the end of her time in the White House.
Directed by Byam Stevens, the 85-minute performance will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, at the Depot Theatre, 10 Garrison’s Landing in Garrison. Tickets are $35. To purchase tickets, call 845-424-3900 or visit brownpapertickets.com.