The McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton is opening its season with a play about feminist icon Gloria Steinem.
Titled Gloria: A Life, it was written by the theatre's longtime resident playwright, Emily Mann, who says Steinem asked her to write "the story of the women's movement through her life."
Two-time Academy Award nominee, Mary McDonnell, will play the title role.
"All through the '80s, she was the leading lady for all my plays; I just fell in love with her as an artist," Mann says.
The all-female ensemble cast portray the women who influenced Steinem throughout her life.
They are multiracial and multi-generational, women like Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation and one of her best friends.
The show will be staged in the center's Berlind Theatre. The first act provides insight into Steinem's personal evolution, using music and video clips from the beginning of the movement through present time.
The second act is an interactive talking circle with the audience participating.
"We are transforming the Berlind into a theater-in-the-round," Mann explains. "You're asked to respond how her story resonates with your story."
It is a motivating experience in which, "people start to look at how they want to affect change," Mann says.
Mann is heading into her final season at the McCarter Theatre Center. She says throughout her 30-year career she wanted to give a voice to the voiceless.
"It's been a huge mission of mine," she says. "And one I feel we accomplished quite beautifully."
Of this particular work, she says, "I think it's really, really important for us to be telling this story."
September 6- October 6, Berlind Theatre
91 University Place, Princeton, NJ 08540