Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins

Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins

Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins

By Margaret Engel and Allison Engel
Directed by David Esbjornson
Featuring Kathleen Turner
Main Season · Roda Theatre
November 21, 2014–January 4, 2015

Two-time Tony and Oscar nominee Kathleen Turner makes her Berkeley Rep debut as Molly Ivins, the brassy, sharp-witted political journalist and best-selling author of Bushwacked. Celebrated for her folksy yet barbed humor, Ivins was the rowdy raconteur stirring up trouble in the old boy’s club and ridiculing those she deemed too big for their britches—earning her a widely read syndicated column and a seat next to Mark Twain as one of America’s beloved satirists. In Red Hot Patriot, Kathleen Turner is all smarts and sass as the redheaded firebrand, recounting her political rants and personal reflections with a liberal dose of piss and vinegar.

We do not expect this show to include an intermission. We’ll update this information, and add running time, once we have confirmation.

Berkeley Rep offers an advisory about any stage effect of potential concern to patrons’ health. We will post this information as soon as it’s available. We don’t offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any concerns about content, please contact the box office.

Executive sponsor

Ira and Leonore Gershwin Philanthropic Fund

Season sponsors


Buy tickets  Subscribe

Current ticket prices

Premium: $59–99 · Section A: $45–81 · Section B: $29–61

Prices are subject to change at any time. Generally, your best bet is to buy early. Weeknight tickets tend to cost less than weekends. For the consistently lowest prices, see any three or more subscription plays.

Red Hot Patriot calendar

Open captioningPartial support for open captioning provided by Theatre Development Fund

“Turner is a marvel to watch as she takes on the character of the sharp-tongued political journalist Molly Ivins…Great direction, a great script, and an enormously talented actress…This is a production that needs to be seen…”—Broadway World

“The show is absolutely wonderful, entertaining and illuminating…and fiercely topical to today’s helter-skelter events.”—Huffington Post

“[Turner] truly owns the stage…The rants and reflections, not to mention all the wicked wit in between, sound fresher than ever, and they keep this Red Hot Patriot spinning. No, make that kicking ass.”—The Baltimore Sun

Watch now

Introducing Red Hot Patriot

Meet the witty Molly Ivins and the powerhouse actor that portrays her—Kathleen Turner!

Additional resources

Our literary department wrangled up this list of resources, including descriptions of her famous books, links to her witty columns, and more—including a video interview with Kathleen Turner.

Open all · Close all

Molly Ivins’ writing

Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?

  • This curated collection of essays and columns, published in 1991, brought Molly Ivins national acclaim when it became a bestseller. Filled with her pieces about Texas politics as well as national figures and events, Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She? showcases Ivins’ iconic wit and searing insight.

Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush and Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose

  • Molly Ivins wrote two books about George W. Bush, one published just before he was elected to the Oval Office, and the next published just before his second term. In Shrub, the first book, Ivins provides an analysis of Bush’s political record and presidential platform using her trademark sense of humor to urge voters to consider the politician’s questionable political history when heading to the voting booth. Bushwhacked picks up where Shrub left off in chronicling George W. Bush’s presidency and administration.

The Texas Observer’s complete archive of Molly Ivins’ articles

  • The progressive Texan news journal for which Ivins served as a co-editor and reporter through the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s has made their archives of her articles available online.

“The Uncompassionate Conservative”

  • This 2003 article in independent political journal Mother Jones takes a fed-up look at George W. Bush’s approach to issues of poverty and class difference. Writes Ivins in the article, “When it comes to dealing with those less privileged, Bush’s real problem is not deception, but self-deception.”

“A-men. A-women. A-Ann.”

  • Ivins penned this 2006 tribute to former Texas Governor Ann Richards in the Texas Observer. Ivins pays homage to the major impact that her dear friend and mentor had on women in politics, writing, “She was outrageous and courageous on behalf of women everywhere.”

Elvis Presley’s obituary

  • Red Hot Patriot mentions this famous obituary of Elvis Presley that Ivins wrote for the New York Times after Presley’s death in 1977.

About Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life by Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith

  • Based on the authors’ personal knowledge of Ivins, interviews with her family and friends, and “access to a treasure trove of her personal papers,” this biography provides a thorough narrative of her path to becoming a major public figure in journalism.

Red Hot Kathleen Turner Discusses Molly Ivins

  • A video interview with Kathleen Turner for Smithsonian Magazine in which she discusses the challenges of the role, the views she shares with Molly Ivins, and her history with the show.

Docent talks and discussions

Pre-show docent talks

Meet us in the Theatre an hour before the show on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an engrossing presentation about your subscription-season play. Hear about the playwright’s perspective, dive into the historical context, and discover why the script is relevant right now. Each 30-minute talk includes plenty of time for your questions.

Post-show docent-led discussions

Join your fellow audience members after all matinees and share your thoughts on the show.

Our docents also offer talks off-site

  • Thursday, December 11 · 1pm—Moraga Library

Interested in becoming a docent? Click here for details. For more information about Berkeley Rep’s docent program, please email

Teen Night

Teen Night gives local teens the opportunity to meet for dinner and a behind-the-scenes discussion with a member of the artistic team before attending each subscription-season production at an extremely discounted price.

  • Friday, November 21, 2014

Past Teen Night guests have included: Tony Taccone, Berkeley Rep’s Michael Leibert Artistic Director; Ray Garcia and Salvatore Vassallo, dancers in Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup; and Michael Suenkel, Berkeley Rep’s production stage manager.

Teen Night begins at 6:30pm at the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre. Tickets are $10. Learn more. To reserve your space, call Teen Council at 510 647–2973 or email

Last Call

Cap off your night with us after select evening performances throughout the season and sample wine, spirits, and other culinary delights from local vendors—all for FREE! Samplings begin immediately following the performance.

  • Friday, December 5, 2014

Post-show discussions

Stick around after select performances for lively Q&A sessions with our artists on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights.

  • Thursday, December 11, 2014
  • Tuesday, December 16, 2014
  • Friday, December 26, 2014