By Kat Kramer

Well folks, I spent St. Patrick’s Day 2024 celebrating Women’s History Month at Theatre West and enjoying a new solo piece about the late Trailblazer Bella Abzug. It’s being developed by writer/performer Amy Simon at Theatre West and was directed by Karen Ragan-George. The performance was a one-time-only stage reading, but the piece is compelling and Simon plans to make it into a powerful play about Bella, much like Holland Taylor created a solo play about the late Ann Richards, former liberal Governor of Texas. Abzug was a feminist icon, politician, civil rights activist and this play about her is called “Bella Abzug: That Beautiful, Ballsy Broad Who Gave ‘Em Hell.”

I was lucky to have known Bella in her later years, having met her as a child, Abzug made quite an impression on me. Amy Simon presented a semi-produced reading with a set and props. I was impressed by how she managed to capture Bella’s feisty humor. Although nobody can ever re-create Bella’s dynamic personality, Simon does genuinely give us a peek into “Battling Bella” as she was known.  Amy painstakingly researched Bella and the focus is on how Abzug was able to, in her own words, “kick the hell out of the establishment.”

She was born in 1920, the year women won the right to vote. As a young woman, Bella was defiant, rebellious, and passionate about equality for all. Abzug forged her own path and became a lawyer. From defending actors accused of communism or risking her own life defending a wrongly convicted black man, Willie McGee, in Mississippi during the 1950’s, there’s nothing Bella can’t do as an activist, and she always fought for social justice. Once Bella got into Congress, she fought like hell for the Equal Rights Amendment, gay rights, childcare, the environment, and against racism, ageism, and corruption. Watch out for anyone who got in her way.  Clearly, Bella Abzug had chutzpah. It was Bella who made sure women had credit cards in their own name, and not their husbands. Bella was known for wearing hats. She was a larger-than-life force to be reckoned with.

Amy Simon has been acting and writing since childhood. She’s well known for SHE’S HISTORY! her solo play about women’s empowerment, those who make and made history, which debut in 2010 at The Skirball Center in Los Angeles. Besides developing “Bella Abzug”, Simon is writing a Young Adult Women’s History book for Rowman & Littlefield. She participated in an informative talk back after the show.

Theatre West continued its celebration of Women’s History Month with a one-performance-only of “My Uterus, A Womb With A View” by Dina Morrone. It may one day play Broadway!

Live Your Dreams,



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