First Lady’s Lesbian Love in “Hick: A Love Story”

Historians debated for decades whether Eleanor Roosevelt was a lesbian. Writer Terry Baum’s and director Carolyn Myers’ new play, Hick: A Love Story – The Romance of Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt is about the romance between arguably America’s most influential First Lady – the wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President during the Great Depression and World War 2 (1933-45) – and the USA’s most prominent woman journalist at the time. Eric Jansen hosts a conversation with Baum and Myers in which they perform scenes from the play to preview it for Out in the Bay listeners 7pm Thursday, July 10, on 91.7 FM Bay Area & globally at KALW.org. Hick: A Love Story, co-presented by the Crackpot Crones and Theatre Rhinoceros, runs July 10-27 in San Francisco’s Eureka Theatre. All performances are FREE, but reservations are required.

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While First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), President during most of the Great Depression, the New Deal and World War 2, became a prominent activist for women’s rights and racial equality. She was the first First Lady to hold press conferences, and she wrote a daily newspaper column. It was during FDR’s first presidential campaign, in 1932, that she got to know journalist Lorena Hickock, who helped shape Eleanor Roosevelt’s public persona. Hickock lived in the White House at various times during FDR’s long presidency, and the press corp called her the “First Friend.” Speculation about her relationship with Eleanor was largely under the surface until Hickock’s biography was published in 1980.  It included many of Eleanor’s letters to “Hick,” confirming a very deep and passionate relationship. Lots more juice in the play Hick: A Love Story – The Romance of Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt, July 10 – 27 at the Eureka Theatre in San Francisco. All shows are free, but reservations are required. It’s a co-presentation of Theatre Rhinoceros and the Crackpot Crones.

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