Actors bring the lives of three historic first ladies to stage

Lady Bird Johnson, a screen cap from “Moody College Legends – Lady Bird Johnson.” (Courtesy of Moody College of Communication / Vimeo)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Three first ladies will perform the monologues of their lives on the stage this week.

Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, and Betty Ford will talk about themselves, their husbands, and their experiences through the voices of local actors.

One has adapted her accent for the part.

“I have never been too concerned about clothes, but in this business, you have to be.”

That’s Rosemary Culver as Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson, wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Lady Bird Johnson was born in Texas and came from a wealthy background.

“And she is a very straight forward woman who tries very hard to be a first lady, a good first lady to her husband.”

Culver says Lady Bird put a lot aside to be Johnson’s wife. She was an educated, ambitious woman.

Director Mary Patterson says Lady Bird earned a dual degree in history and journalism and eventually moved onto owning both radio and TV stations.

“She grew up without a mother. Her mother passed away when she was a little girl, and she grew up with her aunt Effie, and she was always dependent on everything, so she didn’t want to be like her aunt, so that’s why she went out and got a degree.”

Patterson says the play also fits right into her niche as a director.

“I’ve always been interested in history and, when I found this play, I was like oh my gosh, I have to do this play, and the authors are so very close. I mean, they did the research to be very exact in time in history.”

The first ladies will perform Thursday and Friday at the Gerald C. Wilson Drama Pod at 7 p.m. both nights.

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