What the Constitution Means to Me

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Rosdely Ciprian

ROSDELY CIPRIAN (Debater) is a freshman in high school who lives with her mom in New York City. Rosdely graduated from Barbizon Modeling School in 2012, was an extra for the 2014 movie Annie, and also played the title role in Annie at her school in 2017. She has a passion for acting and an affinity for technology and helps her community as a Girl Scout Senior. Rosdely has participated in various summer programs and sometimes helps judge debates with her teacher Mr. Beattie.

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Thursday Williams

THURSDAY WILLIAMS (Debater) is making her Broadway debut! She recently appeared in What the Constitution Means to Me at New York Theatre Workshop and is currently a senior at William Cullen Bryant High School in Queens. She has debated at Brooklyn Law School and NYU through the Legal Outreach Program and completed a judicial internship at the Civil Supreme Court through the Sonia & Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program last summer. She is also a Sergeant for the Explorers Program at the 103 Precinct. Twitter: @thursda88669436. Instagram: @thursday226.

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Review Quotes

Broadway

America Magazine

“The exhilarating, all-stops-out debate that ensues—Schreck lays into the document’s defects with more-than-sporting vigor, and an impressively self-possessed Thursday Williams (alternating with Rosdely Ciprian) rousingly defends the Constitution’s pliability as its strength—is one of Broadway’s most unlikely emotional highs. … The young debater’s unbowed fire…also beckons us toward a future…”

The Berkshire Edge

“So wherefore my joyous hallelujah? Thursday Williams, the brilliant African American high school senior who enters stage left to debate Schreck toward the end of the show. She sowed hope in a hopeless place. I hooted and booed for both her and Schreck’s debate positions. It was a thrill worth the price of admission to listen to two smart women make smart points, without rancor or ill will or personal insults. As an English teacher, my loudest cheer was when Williams interrupted Schreck to correct her grammar. ‘It’s “fewer” rules, not “less” rules.'”

Broadway Blog

“At my performance, Thursday Williams gave Schreck a run for her money with her incisive wit and sharp remarks….Schreck and Williams’ back and forth elicited one of the most uproarious responses I’ve seen in a Broadway house.”

Broadway Lover

“…in the case of the night I attended, Thursday Williams, an outspoken and self-assured high school senior.”

Broadway Journal

“At the preview I attended, the teen was Thursday Williams, a hyper-articulate senior at William Cullen Bryant High School, in Queens”

Broadway News

“Fittingly, the show ends with a sort of coda in which a young debate champion who is a current New York public school student comes on stage. (At the performance I attended the enchantingly precocious Rosdely Ciprian played the role. Thursday Williams appears at certain performances.)”

Carole DiTosti

“And Rosdely Ciprian is an absolute spitfire.”

The Hollywood Reporter

“In the final, and most delightfully mutable part of What the Constitution Means to Me, which expands its think-piece nature further still while artfully tying everything together, Schreck welcomes onto the stage one of two New York City high school students, who are champion participants in Parliamentary debate contests today. Both times I’ve seen the show, it’s been with sharp-as-a-tack, charmingly self-assured 14-year-old Rosdely Ciprian, who alternates with 17-year-old Thursday Williams.”

Journal Inquirer

“Williams was the student the night I attended, and she presented a marvelously composed quality that was a privilege to watch. She really got the audience riled up as she argued in favor of abolishing the Constitution in the mock debate with Schreck who spoke in favor of keeping the Constitution.”

The Komisar Scoop

“Part of the show is a very bright young girl who at different performances debates either side of whether the Constitution should be abolished. Two young students alternate the roles. I saw the excellent articulate and passionate Rosdely Ciprian, 14.”

Los Angeles Times

“‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ concludes with a debate between Schreck and a bright teenager…in bringing to the stage a youngster with the same passionate engagement of the 15-year-old Schreck, the show ends on a note of optimism that the battle for social progress is in confident hands.”

New York Stage Review

“Another debater—this time a legitimate, New York City teenager—comes on in pitched-and-determined battle. Rosdely Ciprian and Thursday Williams alternate in this role; having seen the former during the play’s run last fall at New York Theatre Workshop and the latter at the Hayes, I can tell you that both are compelling and—if appearances are correct—headed towards careers in law, politics, or justice….There are four alternate versions of this scene, depending on which girl is playing the role and which sides of the debate she and Heidi have been assigned by an audience volunteer. The dialogue has the ring of authenticity, having been developed and refined from actual debates between Schreck and the two girls (who have been performing the play for many months)….The teenagers are up to the level of Schreck…”

The New York Times

“At the performance I saw, Rosdely Ciprian, a preternaturally composed 14-year-old New Yorker, spoke for abolishment. (At alternate performances, the guest debater is Thursday Williams.) Ms. Ciprian’s arguments, honed during a year of the play’s development, are sophisticated and cutting, and often hilarious…some of the unexpected joy of ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ comes from the hope that people so smart and passionate and ready for change will soon be part of the electorate.”

The New Yorker

“…the pitch-perfect Thursday Williams and Rosdely Ciprian alternate…”

NY1

“It ends with Heidi calling on to the stage a young high school student who, like her, is an expert debater. On alternating nights you can either see Thursday Williams or 14-year-old Rosdely Ciprian, who was featured the night I attended and is awesome. With the supreme gift of oratory, they both go at it, arguing the question of whether to fix the Constitution or simply abolish it. Heidi and Rosdely remind us that we the people are far from forming a perfect union. And yet, how fortunate we are to have a Constitution that gives them the right to say so.”

Queer Online

“To end the evening, we are treated to a live debate, where Schreck faces off against a high schooler; at the performance, I saw it was the brilliant and quick-witted Thursday Williams.”

Theater News Online

“Finally, Schreck is joined onstage towards the show’s end by a real-life high school debate student (Rosdely Ciprian and Thursday Williams alternate performances) for a very lively exchange about whether the Constitution should be abolished or ‘kept.’ … Just as importantly, seeing such well-spoken, thoughtful young women tackle this heady subject should make all of us believe in the future of the country.”

Theater Pizzazz

“Ciprian is an extraordinarily gifted kid, who most definitely will one day make a name for herself in whatever she pursues.”

The Theatre Times

“It should be said that neither Ciprian nor Williams is a pushover or a wallflower. Both are extraordinarily poised and self-possessed young people who easily convince you they know the full consequences of their arguments…Rosdely assists Schreck—far better than I or any of my peers could, I must say—in one of the aforementioned ‘extemporaneous’ debates.”

TheaterScene.net

“Rosdely Ciprian and Thursday Williams alternate in this role, with Ciprian appearing in the performance under review. She gave an appealing performance…”

Times Square Chronicle

“At NYTW last fall, I had the pleasure of seeing Rosdely Ciprian, a well-spoken firecracker and member of her school’s debate team join in to the conversation midway through, breathing some youthful energy and spunk into a debate that is in dire need of happening across this country. This time around, lucky for me, I had the fortune of seeing the other young lady that I didn’t have the opportunity to see downtown, Thursday Williams, an equally wise far-beyond her years young lady who couldn’t have been more brilliant or commanding. I look forward to the day either one rules the world.”

Variety

“Rosdely Ciprian, a 14-year-old freshman, held up her end with admirable ease at the performance this reviewer caught. (Thursday Williams, a senior at William Cullen Bryant High School in Queens, plays the role three nights a week.) Honestly, how great is that?”

The Washington Post

“Although much of ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ is cautionary, the evening concludes on a high note: Schreck invites a female New York City public school student to join her for a final constitutional debate. In separate viewings, I have seen both participating students, Thursday Williams and Rosdely Ciprian, and can attest to their wit and poise. Both are such impressive representatives of their generation that you will leave the Helen Hayes a little more optimistic, knowing that the Constitution means so much to them.”

The Wrap

“The wonderfully composed 14-year-old Rosdely Ciprian astonished at my performance (she alternates with Thursday Williams). Despite the depressing state of the news (and our Twitter feeds) about the fragility of democracy, Ciprian sends the audience out with an almost buoyant hope for the future.”

Off-Broadway

Broadway and Me

“It was inspiring to see Thursday Williams, a senior at William Cullen Bryant High School in Queens, deliver a passionate defense of the constitution at the performance I attended…”

Broadway World Off-Broadway

“At the performance this reviewer attended, 14-year-old Rosdely Ciprian was welcomed to the stage to debate Schreck on the issue of revising the Constitution or completely replacing it. She alternates performances with Thursday Williams and an audience member is selected to judge the outcome…Poised, succinct and speaking with authoritative tones, she is in no way precocious, just impressively quick-thinking and prepared.”

CitiTour NYC

“Conversely, bringing on a real-life high school debate student (Rosdely Ciprian, whom I saw, and Thursday Williams alternate performances) during the last 15-minutes to go ‘womano a womano’ with Schreck over whether the Constitution should be abolished proves to be an act of brilliance. Not only, does their spirited exchange force all of us to think about the importance of the Supreme Court…but seeing such a well-spoken, thoughtful young person should give all of us hope for the future of the country…”

Clyde Finch Report

“At the performance I attended, Thursday Williams, a senior at William Cullen Bryant High School in Queens, came on stage. A veteran debater, she recently participated in the Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship program. Williams and Schreck now debated, extemporaneously, not an amendment or clause of the Constitution as in the contests that Schreck won years ago, but now the very idea of the document itself.”

Culture Sauce

“The wonderfully composed 14-year-old Rosdely Ciprian astonished at my performance (she alternates with Thursday Williams). Despite the depressing state of the news (and our Twitter feeds) about the fragility of our democracy, Ciprian sends the audience out with an almost buoyant hope for the future.”

The Daily Beast

“If the debate structure has all but melted away by this point, it reasserts itself with the appearance of Rosdely Ciprian, a 14-year-old debater from New York City who has been debating since the second semester of sixth grade. (Ciprian alternates this real-person role with Thursday Williams, a senior at William Cullen H.S. in Queens.) Ciprian is intelligent, fast, wry, and more than a match for Schreck, and Schreck meets Ciprian in a similar spirit as they verbally spar over whether the Constitution should be abolished.”

A Gathering of the Tribes

“In the final debate, the bright and assured Thursday Williams (who alternates nightly with Rosdely Ciprian) shares the stage with Schreck and brings youthful confidence into the dialogue of the future of the US constitution.”

Lighting and Sound America

“At the performance I attended, Rosdely Ciprian was a delight – so poised and well-spoken that if she is typical of the next generation, we have nothing to worry about”

New York Times

“It concludes with a postscript in which a young debater of today (in my case, the dazzlingly self-assured, 14-year-old Rosdely Ciprian) squares off against Ms. Schreck to debate whether the current Constitution should be scrapped.”

New York Stage Review (review by David Finkle)

“To prove her point, she brings out a young debater to contend with. I saw 14-year-old Rosdely Ciprian, who was so confident about her abilities that I pictured her finishing the night by going off to advise a needy politician (Orrin Hatch perhaps?). Thursday Williams is the debater on alternate nights. The debate Schreck and Ciprian fought was over whether the Constitution, as it stands now, should be abolished. … By the way, an audience member chooses the debate’s winner. (Ciprian was my night’s winner.)”

New York Stage Review (review by Jesse Oxfeld)

“And, finally, we meet a young New York City debater, today’s version of the girl Schreck once was, who both charms everyone in the room (at the performance I saw, it was Rosdely Ciprian, a high-school freshman; at other performances it is Thursday Williams, a Queens high-school senior) and sounds a necessary, if perhaps rose-colored, note about the flexibility and resilience of our system.”

Off Off Online

“The play’s coup is the inclusion of a high-school-age debater from New York City; Rosdely Ciprian and Thursday Williams alternate in the role. Though the debater doesn’t enter until late in the show, her arrival brings the hope that allows Schreck to cope with the ‘staggering facts of violence against women.’ Schreck and her young companion engage in playful scripted debate…the vision of young, diverse womanhood leading the charge is undeniably moving.”

Stage Left

“On the night I attended, high school student Thursday Williams argued not to abolish the constitution, but rather to ‘overthrow the men who abuse it.’ If she is the future, it is one I welcome, if only we can survive the present.”

TheaterMania

“In the latter third of the play, Schreck invites real-life teen debater Rosdely Ciprian to the stage for a debate about whether the Constitution should be abolished and replaced. It’s thrilling and the audience really gets into it, not least of which because of Ciprian’s on-point and stinging delivery (I have no doubt we’ll be seeing her on C-SPAN one day)”

Theater Pizzaz

“Toward the end of the piece Schreck is joined by a high school student (played at alternating performances by Rosdely Ciprian and Thursday Williams), who debates her as to whether the Constitution should be abolished. Williams debated at the performance I attended, and she was electric: smart, beautiful, together.”

Theater Scene

“It’s a rotating role and at the performance under review the eager and charming high school senior Thursday Williams portrayed this character (alternating with Rosdely Ciprian).”

The Ticker

“Depending on the night, Thursday Williams or Rosdely Ciprian go toe-to-toe with Schreck in an invigorating, audience participation-filled debate”

Times Square Chronicles

“Rosdely Ciprian, a well-spoken firecracker and member of her school’s debate team joins in to the conversation midway through, breathing some youthful energy and spunk into a debate that is in dire need of happening across this country (Ciprian [T/Th/Sa] shares the part on alternate performances with Thursday Williams [W/F/Su]). This young lady is brilliant and commanding, and I look forward to the day she rules the world.”

TowleReport

“It even turns into a live debate, when a real teen debate champ comes out to spar with her (a preternaturally sharp Rosdely Ciprian the night I attended).”

Vulture

“The buoyant, needle-sharp Rosdely Ciprian is one of two actual 14-year-old debaters, local students who join Schreck on stage for the last part of her show; I saw her, but you might see Thursday Williams depending on which night you go. … It’s a vital part of Schreck’s show, as is the appearance of the elfin, astonishingly self-assured Rosdely, who’s a remarkable young human in her own right – as well as a startling reminder of what 14 actually looks like.”

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