Wickedest Woman

wptheater, Upper West Side
Tuesday, January 22, 2019 @ 7:00pm

Madame Restell (Jessica O'Hara-Baker) hangs a sign announcing her office as a "Female Physician." Original photo by Braddon Lee Murphy.

Our Experience

4

In the mid nineteenth century, when the medical profession wasn't particularly regulated, anyone could hang a shingle calling themselves a doctor and dispense “medications” and perform surgery without any real qualifications.

One such person was Ann Lohman, a self-proclaimed “female physician” who amassed a great fortune in New York City, performing abortions and arranging the adoption of illegitimate babies under the alias Madame Restell, at a time when most reputable doctors and hospitals would not dare do either.

Wickedest Woman is Lohman's story, told from her own perspective.

Starring Jessica O'Hara-Barker as the strong female lead and with Jose-Maria Aguila in the supporting role as her second husband, this production, written by Jessica Bashline and directed by Melissa Crespo, features a handsome set by Anna Driftmier that looks like it might have been designed by the great recycler, Louise Nevelson.

Featuring live, traditional folk songs about the melancholic fate of women in a land dominated by an elite patriarchy incapable of experiencing pregnancy or poverty, Wickedest Woman straddles the line that would make it a musical, and the assignment of the gender-diverse cast to roles that dismiss the binary in Victorian-era costumes allow this production to straddle the line that would label it experimental theater.

Check it out, then come back here and tell us what you make of it all.

Whether you deem Madame Restell a feminist hero at a time when she was needed most, or a quack who took advantage of unfair social norms to rise from rags to riches, we’ll use what you say to find future events and activities that help you Do More of What You Love!™

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