Washington, DC: July 18, 2011:
“She could have been overshadowed by her president father and House-Speaker husband, but Alice Roosevelt Longworth found a way to make a name for herself. Actor Joy Davidson, who plays Alice in the self-titled play appearing at the Capital Fringe Festival this month, said Longworth’s wit, stark honesty and knack for surprise were among the characteristics that attracted her admirers.
Davidson, 74, a former opera singer, spoke to The Hill about the challenges and joys of playing Longworth in the town she once “ruled … as a princess.”
Q: What do you think is most interesting about Alice Roosevelt Longworth?
She really loved life. She took her father’s motto, and that was: “Have a good time as long as you live, and by God I have.” Her father, whom she absolutely adored and admired, [said], “You forgot the second half of that motto, and that is to do good.” Her answer was, “I’m all for doing good as long as I don’t do it myself.”
And he calls her a gadfly, and she takes that as a compliment: “Socrates said gadflies were necessary to sting the mule of society.”
Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned about her in preparing for this role?
Everything. I didn’t know anything about Alice, other than those famous quotes, like, “If you haven’t got anything good to say about anyone, come and sit by me.”