Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins set for Arena Stage

Aug 1, 2012
Arena Stage

Iconic stage and screen actress Kathleen Turner returns to Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater to star in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, as the feisty, unforgettable political journalist. Written by twin-sister journalists Margaret Engel and Allison Engel and directed by David Esbjornson (Broadway's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? and Driving Miss Daisy), the D.C. premiere kicks off Arena Stage's 2012/13 season playing August 23 through October 28, 2012 in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle.

"Molly Ivins is a political news icon. Newspeople admired her, and politicians-even the ones she skewered-respected her brutally honest work. She makes a really wonderful stage character, and Kathleen Turner is the ideal match. Molly was a true crusader and activist in every sense of the word-and activists catch fire on stage," says Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith.

In Red Hot Patriot, Academy Award and Tony Award nominee Kathleen Turner brings her sizzling blend of sensuality and intelligence to the bravado of newspaper columnist Molly Ivins. A dyed-in-the-wool liberal from deep in the heart of Texas, Ivins' rapier wit made her one of America's highest-regarded columnists, satirists and beloved rabble-rousers. The incomparable Turner "excels" (Variety) in this searing, 75-minute show that weaves personal anecdotes and a look at our national pastime-politics.

"I am thrilled to be bringing Red Hot Patriot to Arena Stage," shares Turner. "We had our first reading there, and the timing on this piece, before the election, couldn't be better. Can hardly wait."

The Engels researched and wrote the play based on Ivins' writings, interviews and speeches as well as through interviews with her friends and colleagues. Red Hot Patriot received a workshop and private reading with Turner at Arena Stage in 2009. The production reunites Turner with Esbjornson, who staged her in the piece for the Philadelphia Theatre Company world premiere in 2010 as well as the recent production at the Geffen Playhouse. Red Hot Patriot also marks the return of Turner to Arena Stage, where she last performed as Titania in the 1981 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, in addition to participating more recently in a tribute performance to Edward Albee as part of the Edward Albee Festival in 2011.

"People continually use Molly Ivins' quotes to describe the current political climate," add playwrights Margaret Engel and Allison Engel. "There's a real hunger for Molly's voice. While being hilariously funny, she always hit a nerve writing about politicians, economic injustice and the threats to our freedoms. We are thrilled that her voice will be coming to our nation's capital right before the election."