Diana exclusive Q & A with cast member Jocelyn Shek of "What the constitution means to me" musical

December 9,2021

The Tony Nominated Play by HEIDI SCHRECK Directed by OLIVER BUTLER

Starring CASSIE BECK (“I Know What You Did Last Summer,” The Humans on Broadway)

By: Diana Brang-Scott
When is the last time you really thought about the Constitution? We all learned the basic concept of it in school many years ago. The Constitution is a document drafted by our founding fathers, and it creates a national government consisting of three equal branches, with a system of checks and balances among them. It divides power between the federal government and the states, and it protects various individual liberties of American citizens. Sure, that’s the textbook definition, but when was the last time you really thought about how it directly has impacted you in your own life?

Heidi Schreck’s Tony Award nominated play and Pulitzer Prize finalist What the Constitution Means to Me will play Detroit’s Fisher Theatre for a three-week engagement December 14, 2021, through January 2, 2022. Playwright Heidi Schreck’s boundary-breaking play breathes new life into our Constitution and imagines how it will affect the next generation of Americans. Fifteen-year-old Heidi earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful, and achingly human new play, she resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives.

Don’t let the title fool you into thinking that this show is a boring history lesson. It is eye opening, wildly entertaining, heart wrenchingly intense and hysterically funny. The critics are acclaiming:

“Few new works are as instantly, trenchantly timely as this. Unique, funny, stimulating and exquisitely heartfelt.” -David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“Brilliant, subversive and audaciously funny.” -Greg Evans, Deadline
***** (5 Stars) “A triumph. Shattering, galvanizing and very funny, it’s one of the year’s best shows.” -Alexis Soloski, The Guardian

The success of the Broadway production also spurred a filmed capture of the show, which is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Cassie Beck will star in the Detroit engagement on the National Tour of What the Constitution Means to Me, directed by Oliver Butler. Beck (“I Know What You Did Last Summer,” The Humans on Broadway), will be joined for this engagement by Mike Iveson, and high school students Jocelyn Shek and Emilyn Toffler in the role of the debater.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jocelyn Shek a Los Angeles based high school junior who has a passion for debating, performing arts and social justice. “I have been debating since elementary school and I have a background in advocacy work, I love how this show combines both of these things.” During the show Jocelyn gets to debate Heidi (Cassie Beck) and has the unique role of getting to play herself. “My character is me I am in the show representing young people today and talking about things that I really believe in, and that’s what I appreciate about this role. I infuse myself into the lines I say and the arguments I make. So, its not fake, or just a performance. I’m making arguments for the things I truly believe in and that are important to my life.”

Jocelyn Shek shares this role with Emilyn Toffler and they alternate performances so each person who has the role of the debater says different things based on who they are and what they value. This adds to the cleverness of the show where can be different each night.

In a show that is thought provoking and filled with so many messages I asked Jocelyn what she felt the main one for the audience was? “I think the main message for the audience is don’t be afraid to advocate for what you want. The world in not perfect and this show explores that a lot, but it is also really hopeful, and it shows that things can get better, and we have the power to make change.”

There are so many great touring Broadway shows out right now, why should people come see this one? “People should come see this show because it is so human. It is personal to everyone. Its going to hurt you, and you will laugh and cry and feel a whole range of emotions. It will make you think, and it doesn’t shy away from the important issues effecting our lives today. A lot of theater can be a bubble, but we really want this piece of work to go out into the world and share the messages of joy and hope. So that even when things look bad, know that they can get better.”

Without giving anything away, the audience gets to be a participant in a debate at the end of the show. Being actively involved and playing a role in the conclusion of What the Constitution Means to Me, I asked Jocelyn what she thought the audience would be thinking about on the drive home? She said, “We all come to this show with our own life experiences and perspectives. I think the audience will be sharing their stories of how the constitution has effected each of them in different ways and I hope people will be reflecting on how it has impacted them in their own lives and how they would want to change things for future generations of people.”

The history of our nation is an important context in planning for its future, so come out and see Jocelyn and the entire cast of What the Constitution Means to Me December 14, 2021, through January 2, 2022 at The Fisher Theatre and discover how the constitution has impacted you.

Tickets for What the Constitution Means to Me can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-982-2787, and in person at the Fisher Theatre Box Office.

For more information, please visit https://constitutionbroadway.com/.

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