Great Performances presents the intimate theatrical production Gloria: A Life about Gloria Steinem, one of the most inspiring women of the feminist movement, premiering nationwide on Friday, June 26 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/gperf and the PBS Video app. Fifty years after Gloria Steinem began advocating for women’s equality and championing the equality rights of others, her vision remains highly relevant. Starring Academy, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Christine Lahti (“Evil,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Chicago Hope”) as Steinem, the play features an all-women cast playing both male and female roles. Act one focuses on Steinem’s life and path to activism. Act two consists of a “talking circle” with the audience to discuss the play’s themes, moderated by Gloria Steinem herself. This unique theatrical format offers a forum for Steinem’s philosophy on the necessity of conversation as a catalyst for change. The New York Times theater critic Jesse Green described the experience as “powerful” and “a kind of place where you’d like to curl up to share stories, and in sharing them, amplify them…. The hope seems contagious.”
Great Performances – Gloria: A Life is written by Tony Award nominee Emily Mann (Best Direction of a Play, “Having Our Say”), directed for the stage by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Best Direction of a Musical, “Pippin”) and produced by Pulitzer Prize- and 10-time Tony-winning producer Daryl Roth (“Angels in America,” “Hello, Dolly!”).
Christine Lahti Statement
“Gloria Steinem saved my life in the early 70s. She helped give me feminism, which became a life jacket for me to navigate through a world that didn’t like or respect women very much. It was one of the greatest honors of my life to play her in Gloria: A Life. I feel it’s illuminating, for young people especially, to see how someone like Gloria who was ‘unwoke’ until she was 35—and survived a difficult childhood with a mother who she felt didn’t matter—could become a world leader who has dedicated herself to making sure all women matter. If she can do it, anyone can do it! This play also teaches us how many extraordinary black women were responsible in teaching Gloria about feminism; and that second wave feminism was NOT primarily founded by white women. In addition, it explores how much feminism can help men free themselves from the straight jacket of patriarchal masculinity. Her story is inspiring, complex and completely relatable. And as Gloria stated early on in the development of this play, if the first act is going to be about her, then the second act has to be about the audience. The talking circle that is the second act of Gloria: A Life is equally as moving as people tell their own stories. As Gloria always says, there is healing in the telling.”
- Christine Lahti, stars as Gloria Steinem, Academy Award-winning director of short film “Lieberman in Love,” Oscar-nominated for her role in “Swing Shift,” two-time Golden Globe-winner for her roles in “No Place Like Home” and “Chicago Hope,” Emmy Award-winning actor for her role in “Chicago Hope,” actor in Broadway’s “Present Laughter” and “God of Carnage”
- Diane Paulus, stage director of “Gloria: A Life,” Tony Award-winning director of the 2013 revival of “Pippin,” Tony nominated for her direction of the 2009 revival of “Hair,” director of Broadway’s “Waitress”
- Emily Mann, playwright, artistic director and longtime resident playwright of the McCarter Theatre Center, Tony Award winner for Outstanding Regional Theater and inductee to the American Theater Hall Fame
- Daryl Roth, producer of “Gloria: A Life,” 10-time Tony-winning producer of numerous plays and musicals including “Angels in America,” “Kinky Boots,” “Hello, Dolly!” and more
- David Horn, television director of “Gloria: A Life,” executive producer of Great Performances
- “Gloria: A Life” originally ran October 1, 2018-March 31, 2019 at the Daryl Roth Theater in New York City.
- Great Performances – Gloria: A Life is staged in-the-round to heighten the intimacy and personal connection between the actors and audience.
- March 31, 2019 was declared Gloria Steinem Day by the New York City Mayor’s Office.
Short TV Listing
Experience a unique interpretation of Gloria Steinem’s life starring Emmy winner Christine Lahti.
Long TV Listing
Experience playwright Emily Mann’s unique interpretation of feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s life, performed by an all-female cast starring Emmy Award winner Christine Lahti and directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus.
Throughout its more than 40-year history on PBS, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. The series is available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video app, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members can view episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details).
Great Performances – Gloria: A Life is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET in association with Daryl Roth Productions. Directed for television by David Horn. Mitch Owgang is producer. Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.
Major funding for Gloria: A Life is provided by the Ford Foundation. Major funding for Great Performances is provided by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the Irene Diamond Fund, Rosalind P. Walter, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, The Phillip and Janice Levin Foundation and PBS.
About WNET Print
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.