In the presidential society of Washington in the spring of 1875, two beautiful American women are courted by two dashing American men. Madelaine Lee, a wealthy widow from New York, and Esther Dudley, an agnostic photographer from Washington, are pursued by Silas Raitcliffe, Senator from Illinois and candidate for the presidency, and by the Reverend Stephen Hazard, a handsome Episcopal priest whose spellbinding oratory packs his church. Around them move Baron Jacobi, the cynical Bulgarian Ambassador; Esther's unmarried Aunt Lydia, who played at the feet of George Washington when she was a child; Mrs. Essy Barker, an outrageous female lobbyist; and the President and his wife, the world-famous Grants themselves, innocent, blundering and touching. The two women must decide whether to marry the two men, knowing they will also marry what their men believe, about America, about religion, about final truth and untruth, about success and reality. Their courageous decisions, in two highly charged scenes, are the same; they will not marry men they may or may not love, but whose fundamental beliefs they cannot share. Henry Adams' comic vision of American democracy is scathing, passionate, funny, and in the deepest and best sense, loyal to his country.
From two novels by Henry Adams, and the administration of Ulysses S. Grant. This skillfully theatrical adaptation mixes Adams' tales of love and ambition in Washington with scandals from the Grant administration in a manner at once sardonic, knowing, yet affectionate. "…the play abounds with laugh-provoking observations." —Milwaukee Sentinel. "…a thoughtful piece built solidly on history…" —Richmond Times-Dispatch. "…as timely as the headlines coming from Washington these days." —Richmond News Leader.