Words and Music by Michael John LaChiusa
First Lady Suite is an enthralling look into the lives of some of history’s most neglected figures, the wives of U.S. presidents. The musical is presented in four vignettes. The first piece, Over Texas, takes place aboard Air Force One on November 22nd, 1963. Mary Gallagher, the First Lady’s secretary, and Evelyn Lincoln, secretary to the President, are relaxing as they fly into Dallas. While napping, Mary’s dreams become portentous nightmares as they are haunted by a ghostly Jackie and an eerie Lady Bird. Where’s Mamie? is a time-travel fantasy as Mamie, melancholic and alone on her birthday, is paid a visit by the celebrated opera star Marian Anderson. They travel to Algiers to confront Ike about an affair and warn him of the racial strife he’ll face later as President. Olio presents first daughter Margaret Truman singing at a recital but constantly upstaged by First Lady Bess. Eleanor Sleeps Here is a heart-rending examination of the relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok as they’re flown over Washington by Amelia Earhart.
This 90 minute musical is performed with no intermission.
First Lady Suite contains depictions of historical racism and racial slurs.