Manhattan Theatre Club
NY City Center Stage I
November 30, 2019
|Photo courtesy of Manhattan Theatre Club|
Harvey Fierstein is magnificent in Bella Bella. He portrays Bella Abzug with heart, guts, and verve. She was a powerhouse, and Mr. Fierstein has written a striking tribute to her life’s work. Directed by Kimberly Senior, the Manhattan Theatre Club production is sharp and bold.
It is 2:00 AM. Bella Abzug (played by Harvey Fierstein) is waiting for the results of the 1976 NY Senate election. She has escaped from her friends and supporters into the bathroom of her hotel room to catch her breath. She reminisces about her early years as a lawyer and when she ran and won her seat in the House of Representatives. She passionately speaks about the “boys club” and the need for a shift in the power structure to include women in government. She has confidence in her ability to win her bid as the first female Senator from the State of New York, until she remembers a comment she made in a recent interview. She realizes the 1% she is waiting for to swing the vote in her favor will not be coming.
|Harvey Fiersteing as Bella Abzug|
Photo courtesy of Manhattan Theate Club
Harvey Fierstein represents Bella Abzug’s strong, committed voice with honor and respect. It is interesting to see how much has changed since 1976 in the political landscape and power structure of our country, and how much still needs to be to accomplish. This piece gives the audience a chance to look back, laugh, and shift perspectives on the present day political challenges.
Bella Bella is a heart-felt and timely tribute, expertly written and performed. The Manhattan Theatre Club production closes on December 1. Hopefully it will be produced again in the near future.