MvVO Art Launches AD ART SHOW
New

Wickedest Woman: Fierce and Necessary

Wickedest Woman: Fierce and Necessary

Strange Sun Theater produces Wickedest Woman, a fierce new play by Jessica Bashline. The production has as much to say about Ann Lohman’s life as it does about gender, women’s reproductive health, social status, shaming, and perspective.

Wickedest Woman tells the story of Ann Trow Lohman (Jessica O’Hara-Baker), also known as Madame Restell, who was famously put on trial for performing an abortion in the 1830s. Shortly after immigrating to the U.S. and her first husband’s death, Ann Trow becomes an apprentice to Dr. Evans (Dawn McGee), a doctor who provided women with contraceptives and powders for bringing back “courses.” Her second husband, Charles Lohman (Jose-Maria Aguila), convinces her that could have her own shop. Together they open a very successful business, selling medicines, practicing midwifery, and running a laying in hospital for unmarried women. As the controversy around her services germinates, her reputation grows, her relationship with her daughter Caroline (Emily Gardner Xu Hall) becomes strained, and the women she helps come and go. Regardless of society’s moral issues with her work in women’s health, her services are necessary.

Jasmin Walker, Evan Daves, Jessica O’Hara-Baker, Jose-Maria Aguila, and Emily Gardner Xu Hall in Wickedest Woman.
Photo by Braddon Lee Murphy.

Ms. Bashline literally gives Ann control of the story by allowing her to shout the District Attorney (Luke Zimmerman) offstage every time he tries to begin the trial scene. While it is a comical gimmick, it also seems to represent the idea that no matter what good deeds a person performs, history will be sure to remember (to even shout out) the worst. This very nature of this idea means that it is all important to gain the first person perspective – which is exactly what Ms. Bashline achieves in this play.

Designed by Anna Driftmier, the set was absolutely lovely. It felt like the bits and pieces of Ann Lohman’s life fitted together. It was interesting that a lot of elements were incomplete – with this sort of history, a lot of the truth is drowned out by the work of tabloids and newspapers that condemned her or painted her in a less than flattering light. Emily White’s period costume design was not extravagant and suited to the characters socio-economic status in both color and style.

Jessica O’Hara-Baker and Evan Daves in Wickedest Woman. Photo by Braddon Lee Murphy.

Jessica O’Hara-Baker is absolutely stunning. Her Ann Lohman is passionate, matter of fact, and severe to enemies and compassionate to patients. Jose-Maria Aguila’s energy complements her well and his Charles Lohman is the epitome of ambition.  The ensemble of actors were constantly playing opposite genders – a clear and powerful choice by director Melissa Crespo – and they excel at gender bending; it created comedic moments and generated a subtle duality. Standing out from the ensemble is Dawn McGee, she is a literal joy to watch. A scene between two policeman, played by Ms. McGee and Evan Daves, is absolutely delightful to watch. Jasmin Walker and Luke Zimmerman were the most consistent with their accents.

At a time when media is fighting to affect and shape our collective perspective, Strange Sun Theater’s production of Wickedest Woman is a reminder that there is always more to the story.

Wickedest Woman, Sun Strange Theater, WP Theater, 2162 Broadway (between 76th & 77th Street), New York, NY. Closes February 2nd.

Tickets are available at www.wickedestwomantheplay.com.

New
@Jimenez824

Virginia Jimenez is a writer, dancer and teaching artist in New York City. She teaches for various companies focusing on dancing for musical theatre, ballroom dancing, theatrical skills and story building. Bringing arts education to students in NYC is incredibly rewarding for her because she is passionate about arts integration and using the arts to facilitate an emotional education. As a writer, Virginia believes in the power of words and stories to challenge and encourage audiences to seek growth and modes of expression. She likes tequila and ice cream - though not necessarily together. www.vmjimenez.com

More in New

My View: World Premier at Dizzy’s Club: Art & Music Combine

Stephen SorokoffAugust 17, 2019

My View: I’m Crying Out Loud For This One

Stephen SorokoffAugust 16, 2019

My View: Lots of Be My Love To Sean Patrick Murtagh Last Night

Stephen SorokoffAugust 15, 2019

My View: Every Night’s A Celebration At The Friars Club….Jamie deRoy & friends

Stephen SorokoffAugust 14, 2019

My View: Mr. Finn’s Cabaret Was Great Last Night: Billy Stritch in the House

Stephen SorokoffAugust 12, 2019

My View: Anthony Nunziata Recording Solo Debut Album

Stephen SorokoffAugust 9, 2019

My View: Manilow, Maye, and Feinstein at Lorna Luft Opening

Stephen SorokoffAugust 9, 2019

My View: Everyones Bucket List…Michael Feinstein and Marilyn Maye

Stephen SorokoffAugust 7, 2019

My View: Look Who Joined The Lineup at Birdland

Stephen SorokoffAugust 7, 2019