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Generational Clash: N/A Explores Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez’s Political Rift

June 5, 2024

by Marie France

As Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi made history in 2007 as the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a prestigious science fair prize as a senior in high school. 11 years later, at the age of 28, Ocasio-Cortez would go on to become the youngest woman elected to Congress – posing a threat to Pelosi’s leadership and Democratic Party unity.

That battle – between the most consequential, Democratic House Speaker and the fresh-faced, Puerto-Rican congressional newcomer from the Bronx – takes centerstage, literally, in the new Off Broadway play, “N/A.”

While not naming names, former Congressional Aide turned playwright, Mario Correa, delves into fundamental fractures that arose within the party amid disagreements between the two women during Former President Trump’s first term. Pelosi at times clashed with progressive members of the House, known as “The Squad” – a group comprised of newly elected women of color, including Ocasio-Cortez.

Holland Taylor plays N in “N/A.”

Emmy Award winner Holland Taylor (“The Practice,” “Two and a Half Men”) stars in the show as “N,” seemingly inspired by Pelosi, and Theatre World Award winner, Ana Villafañe, plays “A,” a politician likely based on Ocasio-Cortez. Both stars have experience playing powerful women with big personalities. In 2013, Taylor earned a Tony Award nomination after writing and starring in Broadway’s “Ann,” a one-woman show about the late Democratic Texas Governor Ann Richards. Villafañe made her Broadway debut in 2006, starring as Latin Pop icon, Gloria Estefan, in “On Your Feet!” 

Ana Villafañe plays A in “N/A.”

On stage — as “A” rises in prominence, “N” realizes she is a force to be reckoned with. In real life — the two, powerhouse politicians famously had a contentious meeting in 2019. Speaker Pelosi said it “cleared the air” and that the leaders doubled down on their efforts to represent their districts and tackle the challenges ahead. 

Born in Chile, Correa worked in around politics in D.C. before becoming a writer. His hit play TAIL! SPIN!, starring Saturday Night Live veteran, Rachel Dratch, was nominated for Best Unique Theatrical Experience by the Off-Broadway Alliance.  On “N/A,” he teams up with Tony winner, Diane Paulus, who was behind musicals “Pippin,” “Hair,” and “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” and has helmed the plays of Eve Ensler, Suzan-Lori Parks, Emily Mann (Gloria: A Life about Gloria Steinem), and more, to deliver a message and power, politics, and the perilous path to progress. Inspired by real people and events, producers describe the riveting two-hander as “the tale of the person whom many consider the most powerful woman in American history and the once-in-a-generation political talent who defied her.”

Playwright Mario Correa and Director Diane Paulus pose with the poster for “N/A.”

Catch the battle of wills and wits between two congresswomen, generations apart, when previews for “N/A” begin on June 11 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City. Opening night is June 25.