Anna Eleanor Roosevelt is best-known as the articulate First Lady of the United States, supporting her husband Franklin’s policies and advocating humanitarian causes; and after Franklin’s death Eleanor is perhaps just as well known as a co-creator of and delegate to the United Nations. Born into a family of wealth and privilege, and marrying a distant cousin from a wealthy, powerful family, could have meant a life of comfort and ease for Eleanor. But she became more than a shy socialite dabbling in good works and more than a political wife hosting parties. Especially after her husband was stricken with paralysis, Eleanor became Franklin’s eyes and ears, listening to his constituents and providing a sounding-board for Franklin’s policies. After Franklin’s death, Eleanor continued to champion human rights, actively fighting segregation as First Lady of the World. Eleanor’s difficult early life made her sensitive to the pain of others and her character made her commit to a lifetime devoted to easing that suffering.
Drawn to the strong women of the 1930’s, women who broke free from their limitations and inspired others to do the same, Rene Goodwin approached Pamela and William Sommerfield in the 1980’s to develop an historically authentic presentation of Eleanor Roosevelt. Ms Goodwin researched Eleanor’s voice by playing 100+ reel-to-reel speeches. Rene researched Eleanor’s clothing just as meticulously. And Rene continually refreshes the presentation material by being humbly open and responsive to her audience. Ms. Goodwin’s Eleanor Roosevelt elicits a visceral reaction: she’s frequently told, “We felt the presence of Eleanor,” whether in Part I on the campaign trail or in Part II at Eleanor’s last White House tea. Rene’s Eleanor urges, “One can without any great talents learn to live widely and fully and that, ladies and gentlemen, is my challenge to you today, to live widely and fully. It is, after all, your birthright.”
"I must write to comment on the magnificence of Ms. Goodwin. Her portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt completely captivated the audience. We all felt as though we were in the presence of Mrs. Roosevelt herself--quite an extraordinary experience." -- B.H. Ridgewood Public Library, NJ