Friday, September 26, 2014


“TEA FOR THREE” Brings Back Lady Bird, Pat and Betty

By Doc Lawrence
Elaine Brumka as Pat Nixon

-What would the political landscape be like if America’s future includes a First Husband in the White House? “It would be great fun,” says a laughing Elaine Bromka. An acclaimed actress who literally channels three fascinating women who occupied the hallowed position of First Lady, Ms. Bromka took the stage to perform as Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon and Betty Ford in Tea for Three at Art Station Theatre in the Historic Village of Stone Mountain.

An Emmy Award-winner, Ms. Bromka sparkles in this refreshingly witty portrait of three remarkable and formidable First Ladies. These uncommon women appear at a threshold moment of insight and hope near the end of their husband’s administration. This deeply touching, funny play reveals the personal cost of what Pat Nixon called "the hardest unpaid job in the world."

Weaving in the presidents, tumultuous social change and earth-shattering politics of the time in a way that appeals to both male and female audiences, Tea for Three has been critically acclaimed by The New York Times for its blend of humor and passion.

Energetic and cerebral, Elaine Bromka has achieved the impossible by almost becoming for nearly two hours the three very famous women. If there is an objective other than royally entertaining her audience, it is “letting everyone in the room walk in the shoes of these exceptional women,” Ms. Bromka says.

As Betty Ford
The inspiration for Tea for Three, Ms. Bromka revealed, came about when she starred opposite Rich Little in The Presidents, which she performed across the country and on PBS.  Called upon to impersonate eight First Ladies, she ended up spending months poring over videotapes of the women. Studying nuances of their body language and speech patterns to explore psychologically why they moved and spoke as they did, she became more and more drawn in by their personalities and the degree to which they had to suppress themselves while their husbands were president.

“And I wanted to explode myths,” says Ms. Bromka. “Pat was called ‘Plastic Pat’ in the press because she was always smiling. Look more closely at her eyes, though. There’s nothing plastic about her. You see the eyes of a private, watchful survivor.”

Ms. Brumka Portraying Lady Bird
Enjoying a rewarding career, Elaine Bromka has an impressive vitae. Earning an Emmy for her performance in Catch a Rainbow, Ms. Bromka has appeared on stage, film and television with credits that include The Sopranos, Sex & the City, Days of Our Lives, the Emmy Award–winning Playing for Time with Vanessa Redgrave and appeared on Broadway in The Rose Tattoo, I’m Not Rappaport and Macbeth. A member of the Actors Studio and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Smith College, she has also been on the faculty of Smith and of NYU's Steinhardt School, and has taught a variety of one-day acting workshops at over one hundred colleges and prep schools. 

One morning over coffee doesn’t even begin to allow enough time to explore the visionary personality of Elaine Brumka. Responsive and ebullient, she delights in sharing her insights into these First Ladies. “I remembered much,” she says, “from seeing them on television. I did extensive research for the play, reading as much as I could find.”

For those lucky enough to occupy a seat during Ms. Brumka’s performance, this is as close to being in the same room with three of the most intriguing First Ladies of modern times. Here are some of their most private thoughts, emotions, strengths all wrapped in perseverance and courage. “By walking in their shoes,” she says,  “we experience more than the impact of events and fate on these women. Men and women in the audience learn that the most powerful leaders on the planet were better people with their wives at their side.”

Tea for Three has a limited run at Art Station. Don’t miss Elaine Bromka’s spectacular performance. Ticket information: (770) 469.1105;

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