Mom Theatre Blogger: What We’re Up Against: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman

(Photo by: Joan Marcus)

Sadly, the topic of women feeling compromised in the workplace has not grown old, and through written in 1992, What We’re Up Against by Theresa Rebeck packs as much a sexism punch even today.

What We’re Up Against premiered nearly 20 years later at the Magic Theater in San Francisco, and this production marks the play’s Off-Broadway debut.

Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, the show features a likeable, accomplished and feisty cast including Marg Helgenberger, Damian Young, Skylar Astin, Jim Parrack and Krysta Rodriguez.

Eliza (Rodriguez) is the new gal on the totem pole in a small architecture firm where she is relegated to an office the size of a broom closet, despite her talents. Struggling to be given opportunities to prove her worth, she is angry and covers up her anguished frustrated cries, and ultimately goes to  scheming lengths to score political office points with the male powers that be.  Janice (Helgenberger), the other female at the firm, proves no source of support to her, having thrown in her own professional towel years ago in an effort to play nice with the foul-mouthed, liquor-swigging boys, to keep her career in their good graces.

There is nothing new here…..but the strong cast brings the story home.  With little character development, we might as well just know them for their gender and role at the firm, thus the focus becomes the takeaway, which asks or rather pleads….Why haven’t things changed?!  Sadly, there is no satisfying answer, nor is the play as ultimately satisfying as it might be.  But, we can’t argue the premise, particularly in these days of Harvey Weinstein, and women in the audience afterwards applauded the delivery of the message that rang all too true.

The design team features scenic design by Narelle Sissons, costume design by Tilly Grimes, lighting design by Grant Yeager and sound design by M.L. Dogg. The two tier office set works niftily, and the lively period music makes you want to get up ‘n dance at times, if for no other reason than to let loose your frustration.

If the headlines in today’s newspapers aren’t enough for you, then make your way to the WP Theater, and you will no doubt find other kindred female spirits striving for a better future.

The four-week limited engagement runs through Sunday, November 26 at WP Theater.




  1. One Response to “Mom Theatre Blogger: What We’re Up Against: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman”

  2. Well-written review

    By Rochelle Jewel Shapiro on Nov 10, 2017