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Capitol Hillary : From national leader to cheerleader, women are the subjects of "An All-American Salute."

March 19, 1993|JANICE ARKATOV | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Janice Arkatov writes about theater for Valley Life.

The First Lady gets a promotion in Francis Creighton Lynch's "An American First Family: Hillary Clinton in Charge," one of three one-acts opening tonight at Center Stage Theater under the umbrella title "An All-American Salute to Women."

"It's a culmination of all the pieces," Lynch says of the Hillary play, a musical comedy, which is preceded by his and Jill Stewart's "The Afterlives of Three Valley Cheerleaders" and Judy Sheehan's "Afternoon Studies--Women 101: Women Through the Decades."

Lynch, who says the Clinton play is done "all in fun," includes episodes of Bill Clinton's early life in Arkansas and his encounters with hippies in the '60s. The play introduces Hillary Clinton as America's first female President--with her husband reduced to First Lady.

"He's anxious to be President again," Lynch notes, "but she says, 'The people are beginning to think I'm competent. They like my health plan.' "

Lynch, a San Fernando Valley native who's also producing and directing the program, is a graduate of Georgetown University who worked for former Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr. and served as public affairs director for radio station KGOE. For the past nine years, he's taught English and U. S. history at Eagle Rock High School and indulged his love of theater by night.

"I noticed that so many plays done in Los Angeles were about Texas, Ohio and Indiana," he says. "When Jill and I wrote 'Valley Cheerleaders' a year ago, we wanted very much to make it an L. A. story. It contrasts the San Fernando Valley in the '40s--with the characters talking about what it's like working during World War II and all these people who are starting to come into the Valley--and then their daughters in the '60s."

Anne Lockhart plays one of the 1940s characters, a waitress named Christie, who is profiled with her roommates Morgan and Dodie. "My original interest was that I very much wanted to be on stage again," says the actress, a former spokeswoman for Alpha Beta whose last stage turn was in 1985 and '86 in "P. S. Your Cat Is Dead" at the Tiffany Theatre. "My second interest was the fact that it was a project aimed at women--not just with women, but focused on women."

"Afternoon Studies" takes the form of a college history lesson, profiling women through the century in a chronological series of monologues.

"Each character symbolizes a decade," Lynch explains. "The '50s is very conservative. The '60s is the birth of women's lib. In the '70s, they try to make a justification for disco and the materialization of that era. The '80s seem to be a breakthrough for women getting into business--and enjoying life less and less. Finally in the '90s, everything is machines, faxes. The character herself is just a videotape."

Where and When What: "An All-American Salute to Women." Location: Center Stage Theater, 20929 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. Hours: 8 p.m. Fridays, indefinitely. Price: $10. Call: (818) 904-0444.

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