A live capture of Heidi Schreck’s Tony-nominated play, What the Constitution Means to Me, will premiere October 16th on Amazon Prime Video.
The recording was made during the final week of the show’s Broadway run at the Helen Hayes Theater in 2019. Oscar-nominated director Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) helmed the project. Schreck was Tony Award-nominated for both the play and her performance.
What the Constitution Means to Me is centered around a string of Constitutional debate competitions Schreck’s won when she was 15, and which helped cover her college tuition. Schreck uses those contests and the Constitution as a jumping off point to explore the stories of the women in her family and the way our founding document has been utilized to deny people the basic rights and protections it’s supposed to provide.
In a statement, Schreck said of the filmed version, “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.” She added that she would be donating a part of her proceeds from this film to the Broadway Cares COVID Relief Fund and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Voting Rights 2020 initiative.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Schreck spoke about developing the show after holding onto the idea of centering a play around her time on the Constitutional debate circuit for about 20 years.
“[T]en years ago I thought, ‘Well I’ll start by attempting to recreate the speech I wrote as a 15-year-old,’” she said. “I knew my mom had thrown it away and I decided, what would it mean if I tried to go back to this now and reinvent it. And that was the first thing I performed, and people really responded to it, so I decided to keep going. The next step was I decided what I wanted to do was a kind of deeply personal investigation of my own relationship to the Constitution, my family’s relationship to it, and that, of course, led me to narrow it down to the effect that this document has had on generations of women in my family and on their bodies.”