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Why Laurie Metcalf's Hillary Clinton Won't
Why Laurie Metcalf's Hillary Clinton Won't

John Lithgow and Laurie Metcalf on Playing the Clintons: 'There's a Tremendous Undertow of Melancholy'

Don’t expect any pantsuits or fake noses in the “Hillary and Clinton” Broadway show.

Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow’s theatrical portrayal of the former president and first lady has banned blonde wigs and any other type of distracting, appearance-altering props.

“The minute you do an impression, you become a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch,” Lithgow told Variety for the March 12 cover story. “That’s not what this play is at all. It deals with things that everyone thinks about these days in terms of politics and in terms of these two very well-known people.”

Created by Lucas Hnath, the four-person play takes place during the lead-up to and direct aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s victorious New Hampshire primary during her 2008 presidential campaign. Hillary’s chief strategist Mark J. Penn and the eventual President Barack Obama round out the small cast.

“There aren’t that many people who live through these campaigns and are operating at this level of politics,” Metcalf said. “How would you ever begin to know what happens and the stress level and what you have to juggle?”

Set eight years before Hillary Clinton’s loss to President Donald Trump, the show doesn’t make overt references to current-day politics, but Lithgow says that audiences will inevitably bring in their own “obsessions of the moment.”

“There’s a tremendous undertow of melancholy — certainly if you were a fan of Hillary Clinton’s and voted for her — that we don’t address directly, but it hangs in the air,” Lithgow said. “It’s an incredibly powerful element of the play. A lot of that power comes from the fact that in 2008, neither of these people knew what was coming.”

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