Washington City Paper: An American Daughter

Will secrets derail a presidential nominee? Wendy Wasserstein’s play asks just that.

The nonstop nattering about who President Obama would nominate to succeed Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia got tiring after the first week, but watching these upstanding citizens get dragged through the ringer does make viewers consider what investigators would find if they were nominated for a national position.

Wendy Wasserstein’s drama “An American Daughter” considers that question from the perspective of Dr. Lyssa Dent Hughes, a candidate for surgeon general. She appears to be a shoo-in: A descendant of Ulysses S. Grant and the daughter of a senator, Lyssa is exactly the kind of pro-choice woman a liberal electorate desires. Soon, however, some problems arise when her husband reveals that Lyssa might have ignored a jury summons in the past and she describes her less-than-perfect relationship with her mother.

Setting the media and political circuses ablaze, Lyssa must decide whether to withdraw her name from consideration or weather the storm, all while trying to mend the relationships she hurt in the process. If you think the current nomination crisis lacks wit and candor, Wasserstein’s play provides just that.