Heidi Schreck’s play What the Constitution Means to Me has a knack for always seeming of the moment, so of course it’s coming from Broadway to streaming in the October before a general election. The production announced today that a taped version of Schreck’s performance will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on October 16. Marielle Heller, director of Can You Ever Forgive Me? and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, filmed the show in its last week on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theater in 2019. Amazon also announced that it has signed a new overall deal with Schreck to create content exclusively for the platform.
In What the Constitution Means to Me, Schreck recreates the speeches and debates about the Constitution she performed at American Legion halls as a teenager in order to raise money for college, while commenting on her experience from her current perspective, and weaving in the ways the document affected her family history. The play won acclaim on and off Broadway, earning Best Play and Best Actress Tony nominations, becoming a Pulitzer finalist, and most importantly, getting a lot of enthusiastic coverage from us at this publication. Oliver Butler directed the stage production. In addition to Schreck, the production’s cast includes Mike Iveson, Rosdely Ciprian, and Thursday Williams. “I’m delighted with how beautifully Mari Heller has translated Constitution to the screen and I’m thankful to Big Beach and Amazon Studios for making it possible to share the show with more people — especially right now when we can’t gather together in theaters,” Schreck said in a statement. “In light of the moment we are living through, I am donating part of my proceeds from this film to the Broadway Cares COVID Relief Fund and to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Voting Rights 2020 initiative.”
The news that What the Constitution Means to Me is coming to Amazon continues the trend of streaming services becoming a second home for theatrical productions, even while theater itself is shuttered due to COVID. Hamilton recently premiered on Disney+. American Utopia is going to HBO. Netflix has adapted The Boys in the Band and The Prom into feature films, while it also plans to film the musical Diana before audiences return to Broadway.