Jessica O’hara Baker in the lead role of Ann Trow Lohman, alias Madame Restell. Photo by Braddon Lee Murphy of TheaterScene.net.
On January 31st, Merle Hoffman and Choices Women’s Medical Center attended Wickedest Woman, an original play by Jessica Bashline. Wickedest Woman tells the story of Ann Trow Lohman, an entrepreneur, midwife, abortionist–and eventually, a millionaire–who lived in New York City in the 1800s. Using the alias “Madame Restell,” Ann began performing abortions legally in 1838. After a 40-year career, abortion had become illegal making her life’s work criminal. To avoid prison, she killed herself by slitting her throat at age 68.
Choices CEO and founder Merle Hoffman and Executive Vice President of Spence-Chapin Antoinette Cockerham led a post-show discussion on the 31st. They discussed what it’s like to be modern crusaders for controversial topics like abortion and adoption and the parallels between Ann’s life and Merle’s.
Reviewer Leah Richards wrote, “Wickedest Woman deftly strikes these sorts of balances, whether it be in depicting Ann’s personal and professional triumphs and struggles or demonstrating the relationship of her individual story to larger social currents.”