Jennie Eisenhower, the actress who is the great-granddaughter of the 34th President and granddaughter of the 37th (and the daughter of David and Julie Eisehower), is the subject of an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer by that paper’s theater critic Howard Shapiro. Ms. Eisenhower is currently featured in the show Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits at the Walnut Theatre in Philadelphia, a production in which she portrays such legends as Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, and Liza Minnelli. This versatility has been a hallmark of Ms. Eisehower’s career; she plays several other characters in the show, recently performed in the title role in Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, and also just directed productions of Our Town and Kiss Me Kate at her alma mater, Conestoga High School.
The article describes how Ms. Eisenhower, after graduating from Northwestern with a dual major in theater and communications, settled in New York, where she went through the customary round of endless auditions and getting roles that, as often as not, took her far outside the city. After a period of working at Bloomingdale’s as a personal shopper, she moved back to Philadelphia and has made it her base for performances in that area and further afield. (Several years ago she appeared at the Olney Theater near Washington, in the title role of Shaw’s St. Joan, and also had a small role in the Julia Roberts film Mona Lisa Smile.)
The actress also mentions the support she received from her parents and grandparents as she chose and worked on her career, and points out that RN’s very last public appearance (unless one counts the wedding of a family friend, the weekend before his death) was in the audience at her high school production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods. (So the next time you find yourself at a Sondheim trivia contest – and whenever two fans of the man who gave us Sweeney Todd and A Little Night Music are in the same room, there always is one – that’s your chance to deliver the stumper: “Which Sondheim musical did Richard Nixon see just before he passed away?” My bet is that the first guess would be either West Side Story or Gypsy.)