Heidi Schreck in ‘What the Constitution Means to Me.’ (Photo: Joan Marcus)
A filmed version of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning play What the Constitution Means to Me, created by and starring Heidi Schreck, will premiere Oct. 16, 2020, exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.
In the final, record-breaking week of its hit Broadway run, director Marielle Heller (director of Oscar-nominated films A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Can You Ever Forgive Me?) captured the play at the Helen Hayes Theater.
Amazon Studios has also signed a new overall deal with Schreck to create content that will premiere exclusively on Prime Video.
Fifteen-year-old Heidi Schreck earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful, and achingly human show, Heidi resurrects her teenage self to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives. What the Constitution Means to Me was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist and won the Obie Award and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play.
Schreck also received two Tony Award nominations for What the Constitution Means to Me for Best Play and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, and received the 2019 Benjamin Hadley Danks Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters. Directed for the stage by Obie Award-winner Oliver Butler, What the Constitution Means to Me also features Mike Iveson, Rosdely Ciprian, and Thursday Williams.
“I’m delighted with how beautifully Mari Heller has translated Constitution to the screen, and I’m thankful to Big Beach and Amazon Studios for making it possible to share the show with more people — especially right now when we can’t gather together in theaters,” said Schreck. “In light of the moment we are living through, I am donating part of my proceeds from this film to the Broadway Cares COVID Relief Fund and to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Voting Rights 2020 initiative.”
“Heidi Schreck is one of today’s most relevant and original voices, and What the Constitution Means to Me delivers a point of view that is equal parts hilarious, heartbreaking and hopeful,” said Albert Cheng, COO and Co-Head of Television, Amazon Studios. “We are proud to bring the award-winning Broadway show to the screen for Prime Video, and we know that Schreck’s next projects will embody the same intelligence and humanity.”
The Los Angeles Times’s Ashley Lee calls What the Constitution Means to Me “a deeply personal tour de force.” Jesse Green of The New York Times proclaimed it “not just the best play to open on Broadway so far this season, but also the most important” and Alexis Soloski said it’s “crazy funny and sometimes shattering, it’s a comedy about constitutional law and inherited trauma that makes the political very, very personal.”
Heidi Schreck is a writer and performer living in Brooklyn. After an extended run on Broadway, What the Constitution Means to Me played a sold-out, limited run at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC as well as at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and will continue its national tour in 2021. What the Constitution Means to Me was named Best of the Year by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Time Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, The New Yorker and more; NPR named it one of the “50 Great Pop Culture Moments” of 2019.
Schreck’s other plays Grand Concourse, Creature, and There Are No More Big Secrets have been produced all over the country and she has worked as a stage actor in NYC for almost 20 years. Her screenwriting credits include I Love Dick, Billions, Nurse Jackie and shows in development with Amazon Studios, Big Beach, Imagine Television and A24. As both an actor and writer, she is the recipient of three Obie Awards, a Drama Desk Award, and a Theatre World Award; as well as the Horton Foote Playwriting Award and the Hull-Warriner Award from the Dramatists Guild. She was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2019 and was featured on Variety’s 2019 Broadway Impact List. Schreck was awarded Smithsonian Magazine’s 2019 American Ingenuity Award for her work in the Performing Arts.
Big Beach’s television division produces the GLAAD award-winning series Vida on Starz and is the studio behind the critically acclaimed Elizabeth Olsen and Jovan Adepo series Sorry For Your Loss on Facebook Watch. Big Beach is also producing Jean-Marc Vallée’s next television series Gorilla and the Bird for HBO, based on Zack McDermott’s memoir. In addition, they are also producing Marielle Heller’s Five Women, a limited series based on the This American Life episode of the same name. Big Beach’s feature side produced Lulu Wang’s breakout Indie Spirit award winner for Best Feature The Farewell, as well as Marielle Heller’s Oscar-nominated A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
What the Constitution Means to Me is the debut release for DEFIANT BY NATURE, the newly launched production company founded by award-winning director, writer, actor and producer Marielle Heller and with Havilah Brewster serving as Head of Development and Production. The New York-based company is focused on telling stories that uplift, inspire and entertain while simultaneously shining bright lights on women and non-binary creators. In a first-look TV deal with BIG BEACH, the company will develop and produce new series and specials for television, some of which Heller may direct, while also shepherding new voices and talent. Currently in development is a limited series based on the This American Life episode, “Five Women.” Heller has directed three critically acclaimed and award-winning films in the span of five years — A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019), the three-time Oscar-nominated Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) and her feature debut Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015), which earned Heller an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and a nomination for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directing-First Time Feature Film.