A Red-Hot, Very Funny Show
By Skip Sheffield
Barbara Bradshaw made her Boca Raton debut in 1975 in the inaugural season of Caldwell Playhouse for its very first show. She was the title character in the Neil Simon comedy “Star-Spangled Girl.” It was not a very good play, but Barbara was the best part of the show. Michael Hall obviously recognized talent when he saw it. Bradshaw became the resident leading lady at Caldwell and even taught Theater 101 at College of Boca Raton (now Lynn University).
Barbara is no longer an ingénue, but as an actress she is busy as ever and taking on new challenges.
Barbara Bradshaw makes her Women’s Theatre Project debut in the one-woman show “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins.” The show continues through Sunday, March 16 at the Willow Theatre of Sugar Sand Park, 300 S. Military Trail, Boca Raton.
Born in California, Molly Ivins had the misfortune to be raised in Texas in an ultra-conservative suburb of Houston. Her father James, an oil executive known as General Jim or Admiral Jim, was a staunch authoritarian right-winger. Of course his rebellious daughter would grow up to be a “bleeding-heart liberal.”
Throughout her career Molly Ivins would insist she was not a liberal, but on the other hand she was contemptuous of lock-step conservatives who trampled human rights and kowtowed to big business.
The script, created by Margaret and Allison Engel, is lifted directly from Ivins’ satirical columns in the Minneapolis Tribune, where she was the first female police reporter; the Texas Observer magazine, New York Times, Washington Post and finally Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
As the title indicates, Molly Ivins was very witty. She was also laugh-out-loud funny as quoted by Bradshaw.
“Red Hot Patriot” is performed without intermission in less than 90 minutes on a spare set resembling a newsroom. There is one wordless walk-on role of “copy boy,” performed deadpan by Joseph Franklin.
Genie Croft directed the show, but the major lifting is done by Barbara Bradshaw, memorizing a complicated, diverse monologue. I left the Willow Theater with renewed respect both for Bradshaw and for courageous Molly Ivins, who died prematurely at age 62 of breast cancer in 2007.
Tickets are $25, but you can get a discount through the Cultural Connection. Call 561-445-9244.