WHAT HAPPENS IN THE WHITE HOUSE, STAYS IN THE WHITE HOUSE (New City): A New Perspective on First Families

New City Stage Company’s West Wing Festival on presidential politics concludes with a self-devised work by the Voices for a New City Ensemble, now in its second year. Comprised of the company’s educational interns, this season’s group of nine from six universities and one local high school researched, created, and perform (under the guidance of NCSC’s stage manager and Voices’ administrator Sarah Scholl) a one-hour play in the format of a series of short vignettes that explore the family life of America’s leaders.

Members of the Voices for a New City Ensemble create a vision of JFK (Jason Singer) in WHAT HAPPENS IN THE WHITE HOUSE, STAYS IN THE WHITE HOUSE (Photo credit: Courtesy of New City Stage Company)

Members of the Voices for a New City Ensemble create a vision of JFK (Jason Singer) in WHAT HAPPENS IN THE WHITE HOUSE, STAYS IN THE WHITE HOUSE (Photo credit: Courtesy of New City Stage Company)

The satirical take on the past and future occupants of the White House considers how their private relationships and distinctive personalities might have impacted our history and could influence world affairs. It’s imaginative, amusing, and cynical, and it’s reassuring to know that these young theater artists don’t buy into the spin that politicians put on their own bad behavior and behind-the-scenes machinations!

Among the highlights of the cast’s performances are Laura Aspen’s spot-on accent as a future Russian President negotiating with her American counterpart during a nuclear crisis (Aspen also did the costumes); Jason Anthony Singer’s terrific impersonation of the voice, moves, and demeanor of Richard Nixon; and Chris Anthony’s funny reappearances as “Ghost Lincoln”—the spirit who guides us through the historical (re)visions of first families past.

Voices for a New City is a great forum for emerging talents to hone their skills in writing and acting, directing and designing, and to engage in work that is both entertaining and socially relevant, before a live audience in a professional theater. Performances are free and open to the public (donations accepted), but tickets may be purchased in advance to guarantee seating. [Skybox at The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St.]; June 4-8, 2014;  NewCityStage.org.

 

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About the author

Debra Miller

Debra holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Delaware and teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She is a judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent for Central Voice, and has served as a Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and President of the Board of Directors of Da Vinci Art Alliance. Her publications include articles, books, and catalogues on Renaissance, Baroque, American, Pre-Columbian, and Contemporary Art, and feature articles on the Philadelphia theater scene.