by Barbara Lebow
by Barbara Lebow
Overshadowed by her husband George, Lurleen Wallace was thrust upon the stage of politics and history when she became Alabama’s first female governor. LURLEEN brings up the lights on the untold story about the woman her family and friends knew.
Alabama, 1942. Lurleen Burns is a 15–year old girl working in a five-and-dime in Tuscaloosa. George Wallace, a cocky University of Alabama student comes into the store and is drawn to Lurleen, remarking on her electric green eyes. She becomes a war bride in 1943 when she is just 17.
As George is drawn into the private rooms and public flesh-pressing of politics, Lurleen is left alone to raise a family, forced to scrape and borrow to make ends meet. Sweet, but also forceful, Lurleen is a woman damaged and conflicted by the philandering of her absentee spouse as he becomes Alabama’s most powerful politician. Amid the tension she grows, rediscovering her own strengths, determined to nurture and protect her children.
When George cannot succeed himself as Governor, He "runs" Lurleen for the office.
She wins. Not just a puppet for George and his political cronies, Lurleen comes into
her own, delving into important new territory. Her term of office is cut short when she succumbs to cancer midway through, worrying about her children to the very end.
“…A wonderful play about an extraordinary woman who loved her husband and family, who unfortunately died early...a powerful story about coming of age.”
“Barbara Lebow’s absorbing “Lurleen” is an intricate tapestry of formal and substantive elements.”
“She was a woman who – 31 years after her death – drew cheers from ASF audiences during this week’s sold out preview performances. Especially when she confronts George about his fooling around.‘George Wallace is a hypocrite,’ the then first lady proclaims after learning about his liaisons at the old Jeff Davis Hotel in Montgomery. ‘Amen!’ a man in the audience said aloud at Tuesday night’s performance.”