The Columnist is the story of two brothers, Joe and Stewart Alsop. Together, they wrote their famous political “Matter of Fact” column from 1946 to 1958. After a scene in a Moscow hotel room in 1954 where it is revealed that Joe is Gay, the story skips to 1961 in Alsop’s house. It’s the night of JFK inauguration and Joe is preparing for a party. President Kennedy stops by very late after all the balls, thus signaling how important the Alsop brothers are in the Washington political scene. This exploration about the role of the press in politics is all to relevant in today’s current scene.
Philip Earl Johnson is fantastic as Joseph Alsop. He brings Alsop’s passion for politics to life. He is brutally honest at times which makes the audience gasp. Also, the pain he shows reacting to JKF’s assassination is extremely moving. Add to that a great voice and it makes for one hell of a performance.
Kymberly Mellen as Susuan Mary Alsop plays the 60s wife of a gay man perfectly. She is so sweet and accommodating, up to a point. When she begins to grow tired of the situation, it leads to one of the most shocking scenes of the play.
The rest of the cast is excellent as well. Their relationships with Joe are so real and visceral. Together will the great production value, this is definitely a must see for all fans of political drama and Chicago theatre.
Get tickets now for The Columnist through April 1st!