Hick: A Love Story Review – Eleanor Roosevelt’s Untold Story

The first thing you notice as you approach the Berkeley City Club to attend a performance is that the front door is locked. You must press the button and announce yourself, as though seeking admittance to a speakeasy during prohibition. You are then buzzed into the 1930s, into the historic Berkeley Women’s City Club, designed by Julia Morgan, California’s first woman licensed architect.

Terry Baum (as Lorena Hickok)

How appropriate, then, that this is the venue for a historical play set in the 1930s. Hick: A Love Story is the true story of the romance between Lorena Hickok, the first woman journalist to get her own by-line on the front page of the New York Times, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the most important women of the 20th century. Told from Hickok’s perspective, and drawing directly from Eleanor Roosevelt’s correspondence, the story paints a picture of tender love that flourished against all odds.

Terry Baum (as Lorena Hickok)

This one-woman show is beautifully and convincingly acted by Terry Baum, who also wrote the play. Ms. Baum researched Lorena Hickok at the FDR Library in Hyde Park and interviewed people who knew her. It is clear to the audience that she is not just acting in a play, but is on a mission to set the record straight, and tell the whole story of these fascinating women and this interesting time in American history.

1932: Hickok (Terry Baum) gets assigned to cover Eleanor Roosevelt, the candidate's wife

In 1978, 2,336 letters were discovered at the FDR Library, written by Eleanor Roosevelt to Hickok, having been willed to the Library by Hickok upon her death, with the proviso that they would not be opened until ten years later. Covering a period from 1933 right up to Eleanor’s death in 1962, these letters portray the deep love these women had for each other.

1933: Time describes her as "rumpled, fat, and masculine"

Granted permission from the FDR Library, the play quotes directly from several of the letters, as well as from Hickok’s writings, and includes a scene from a 1985 play about Hickok, by Pat Bond, called Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok, A Love Story.

1934: Hickok (Terry Baum) on the road for FDR and his New Deal

You may be thinking that you’ve seen the Ken Burns documentary on The Roosevelts, and despite recalling FDR’s sexual affairs, you don’t remember hearing about Eleanor’s lesbian affair. This has become the subject of lively Internet discussion and has been debated by Ken Burns and other respected historians of the life of Eleanor Roosevelt. Some argue that the letters speak for themselves and Mr. Burns chose to “in” Eleanor Roosevelt rather than besmirch her reputation. On the other hand, Mr. Burns himself said there was “no evidence whatsoever” for a lesbian relationship. The play invites you to decide for yourself based on Eleanor’s own words.

Eleanor Roosevelt (Photo courtesy of the FDR Library)

Lorena Hickok (Photo courtesy of the FDR Library)

There are two weeks of performances to go.  This is a small theater, so reserve your seats early!

WHAT:          Terry Baum in

                       Hick: A Love Story

                       The Romance of Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt

                       Written by Terry Baum with Pat Bond / Directed by Carolyn Myers

 

WHEN:          January 2 - 25, 2015

                       Thurs., Fri., Sat. 8:00 pm / Sun. 5:00 pm

                       Limited Engagement – 19 Performances - Four Weeks Only!

 

VENUE:         The Berkeley City Club

                       2315 Durant St. (Between Ellsworth & Dana Sts.) Berkeley 94704

 

Individual Performance Dates:

January 2                               Fri. 8:00 pm

January 3                               Sat. 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm

January 4                               Sun. 5:00 pm

January 8 & 9                        Thurs. & Fri. 8:00 pm

January 10                             Sat. 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm

January 11                             Sun. 5:00 pm

January 15 & 16                   Thurs. & Fri. 8:00 pm

January 17                             Sat. 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm

January 18                             Sun. 5:00 pm

January 22 & 23                   Thurs. & Fri. 8:00 pm

January 24                             Sat. 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm

January 25                             Sun. 5:00 pm

 

TICKETS:  $20 - http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/896594

Or by calling: 800-838-3006

Pay-what-you-can: Every Thursday - sold at the door - as available.

WEB PAGE:               http://www.crackpotcrones.com

PHOTOS:

Photos by Lynne Fried, except 2nd photo by Liz Payne and historical photos of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok courtesy of the FDR Library

(All photos used by permission.)

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