What is it like for a woman when her husband becomes the president of the United States—and she is suddenly thrust into the spotlight? This witty, sly, and deeply moving script explores the hopes, fears, and loves of Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, and Betty Ford. In three scenes taking place in the family quarters of the White House just prior to the end of living there as the wife of a president, each of the women confides alone to the audience. Secrets are spilled about their early years, their husbands' rise to power, their romances with the men, their unique paths as wives in the White House, and their feelings about imminent retirement. Lady Bird Johnson, while preparing a tea for Pat Nixon, defends her husband's quirks but finally admits to herself, "Politics is his oxygen." Mrs. Nixon, drinking tea alone in her room on the eve of her husband's resignation, works on her mail, picks at her food, and guardedly recalls happier times before exploding in anger about Watergate and the political world. Betty Ford is discovered reading a TIME magazine in her bathrobe. Forestalling preparations for tea with Rosalyn Carter, Betty lightheartedly recalls past escapades, but eventually admits to being quite lost about life after the White House. Defiantly pushing back the fear, she sails out the door to meet Mrs. Carter. Each of the three portraits becomes intimate, by degrees, as the women wrestle with what Pat Nixon called "the hardest unpaid job in the world."
Directed by Michele Hinz