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‘The Shot’ tells the story of 1st woman to be publisher of major American newspaper

"The Shot" is a solo show starring Sharon Lawrence, focusing on Katharine Graham's relationship with her husband, Phil Graham, who preceded her as publisher of the Washington Post. It also looks at Graham's life before marriage.

Apr 13, 2023, 9:40 PM

Updated 464 days ago

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Katharine Graham became one of the most influential figures in American journalism as publisher of the Washington Post. Her achievements are particularly renowned for the paper's investigative reporting of the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation.
What is less known are details of her personal life and difficult marriage in the years before she took over the paper in 1963.
"The Shot" is a solo show starring Sharon Lawrence, focusing on Graham's relationship with her husband, Phil Graham, who preceded her as publisher. It also looks at Graham's life before marriage.
"I knew who Katharine Graham was. My degree is in journalism from UNC Chapel Hill, my father is a journalist just like Kay's was,” says Lawrence. "And so that was my touchstone to her, my personal touchstone. I was not aware of the challenges that her marriage endured. "
Graham became the first woman to be publisher of a major American newspaper after her husband took his own life in 1963. Katharine Graham's father had owned the Washington Post.
"'The Shot' is really a snapshot of the time from when she was a young girl in 1933, when her father took the big step of buying a not unknown but an un-respected newspaper in Washington, D.C. and investing his time and energy and belief and values in that paper," says Lawrence. "And then when she came of age, there was really no societal norm that would have had a woman lead that paper."
Lawrence says she was made aware of the play while attending an event in California honoring women in film. The playwright of "The Shot," Robin Gerber, was volunteering at the event as a server, Lawrence says, and approached the actor with an appetizer tray in hand and briefly pitched the project.
Lawrence may be best known for her long-running role on "NYPD Blue" as Assistant District Attorney Sylvia Costas-Sipowicz. Hear what she has to say about landing that career changing role here:
"The Shot" is being performed at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch through April 23. It includes themes of domestic abuse, mental illness and suicide. It is directed by Michelle Joyner.


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