If A Door Opens: A Journey With Frances Perkins is a play that portrays an extraordinary woman who worked tirelessly to improve working conditions in America during the early part of the 20th Century and eventually became the first woman cabinet member under Franklin Roosevelt. As Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor she was an architect of New Deal legislation and was responsible for the passage of the Social Security Act. At the time of her death in 1965, Secretary of Labor William Wirtz said, “Every man and woman who works for a living wage, under safe conditions, for reasonable hours, or is protected by unemployment compensation of Social Security is her debtor.”
I’m Charlotte Keefe, author and actor in the play. I was unfamiliar with the phenomenal legacy of Frances Perkins until I heard a presentation about her. While listening to stories about this amazing woman, her spirit captured me, and I decided to write a one-woman play about her. I had never written a play, but I was compelled to do it. I wanted people to know this remarkable woman.
I spent over a year researching and writing. When I thought it was in fairly good shape, Bruce McIntosh (actor/director/playwright) worked hours with me editing it. Finally, we decided it was ready to be produced. We changed our hats--Bruce became the director and I became the actor.
The show opened September 14, 2012 at Metta Theatre in Taos, New Mexico. There were 10 performances over a three- week period and was well received. Audience members often said, “ Not only was it entertaining, but it was also educational. You made Frances Perkins come alive”