By Bill Gelman
When it comes to iconic women of the 20th century, Rene Goodwin could tell you a thing or two about what makes each of them stand out. Call it an entertaining history lesson, as the Pennsport resident has written and continues to perform theatrical monologues on a who’s who list of prominent women that includes Jackie Kennedy, Golda Meir, Dorothy Parker and Mother Katharine Drexel. The latter piece was commissioned for the 2015 World Meeting of Families that took place in Philadelphia.
Goodwin refers to her body of work as “Women of Note,” and it includes Eleanor Roosevelt, the former first lady of the United States. Fittingly, with this being Women’s History Month, she will be dressing the part tomorrow night at the East Passyunk Community Center, 1025 Mifflin St., in what is the second part of an ongoing four-part series. “Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years” She described performing at the local center as “amazingly special.”
“I am thrilled, honored and grateful that they think my work is something of value to the community,” Goodwin said.
Audiences in New York, Delaware and Washington, D.C., have seen her performances, too, but in terms of South Philly, there is no doubt this musical artist, actress and producer has a strong following in the South Philly community. Margaret Kalalian, who is on the EPCC advisory council, said Goodwin’s portrayal of Roosevelt is a hit.
“It was really interesting. As the audience came over for refreshments [after the first show], they all said the program is wonderful, and you have to bring her back,” Kalalian said.
Besides the show, attendees will be able to enjoy dessert provided by the local Acme and coffee supplied by Rival Bros Coffee, which opened a new location on East Passyunk Avenue last year.
This is one of many different programs being offered at the community center. Family movie nights, youth sports programs, cooking, senior programs and arts and crafts are some of the other activities residents can enjoy. Kalalian said tomorrow’s event will appeal to a variety of audiences.
“It’s really good for school-age children and high school students, as well as parents and grandparents who remember Eleanor Roosevelt,” Kalalian said. “It’s educational.”
For those who are curious about what’s coming next, the Eleanor Roosevelt series will continue with the “United Nations” and “Equality: How Do We Get There.” It looks at Eleanor’s commitment and work toward achieving equal rights for workers, women and all minorities.
In terms of her leading ladies, Goodwin continues to enjoy telling Roosevelt’s story. She also portrayed the character as a part of Michelle Obama’s “Day of the Girl” and at the National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary Celebration.
“I always had a curiosity about Eleanor Roosevelt. A lot of people hold her in high regard,” Goodwin said.
Showtime is 7 p.m. Thursday, March 1. Tickets are $5 and include refreshments. Reservations can be made by calling the center at 215–685–0008.