Hillary Clinton Talks with Broadway Legends About Challenges Working Women Face — and Sneaks in Jab at Trump

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Hillary Clinton moderates a panel during BroadwayCon 2022 at The Manhattan Center on July 08, 2022 in New York City.
Hillary Clinton moderates a panel during BroadwayCon 2022 at The Manhattan Center on July 08, 2022 in New York City.

Michael Loccisano/Getty

Hillary Clinton, 74, is a Broadway superfan who frequently attends shows. But on Friday, she took to the stage at New York City's BroadwayCon.

Moments after the event's opening number, "Broadway is baaaccckk," which featured a 10-foot-something PCR cotton swab, Clinton came on stage. As the moderator of the opening panel, "Here's to the Ladies," the former first lady acknowledged how the virus has altered Broadway, cracked jokes about Donald Trump, and opened up discussion about the challenges women in theater face.

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Clinton was flanked by actresses and performers Vanessa Williams, LaChanze, Donna Murphy and Julie White. Clinton first asked them each about the challenges of the past pandemic years.

White, 61, talked about the logistical problems when her and her cast contracted COVID-19, and again when some members were reinfected just three months later. She ended on an appreciative note saying, "Thank you, science, for making it possible so that we can go on," acknowledging how the vaccine has made the virus more "survivable" and less life-threatening for most people.

As the crowd applauded, Clinton retorted, "Actually, I'm looking forward to a play that has a character urging us to drink bleach in order to not get the virus," a quip at then-President Donald Trump's suggestion of ingesting bleach to disinfect against COVID-19.

Hillary Clinton (2nd R) moderates a panel with LaChanze (L), Donna Murphy (2nd L) and Vanessa Williams during BroadwayCon 2022 at The Manhattan Center on July 08, 2022 in New York City.
Hillary Clinton (2nd R) moderates a panel with LaChanze (L), Donna Murphy (2nd L) and Vanessa Williams during BroadwayCon 2022 at The Manhattan Center on July 08, 2022 in New York City.

Michael Loccisano/Getty

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Clinton said that each of the panelists' experiences — as mothers, widows and spouses — spoke to "all the challenges women face in balancing work and life." She added that there are obstacles "no matter what kind of work you do, no matter what your family challenges might be, and it's even to me, likely to be more difficult when you have to get up every day on stage and play someone else."

The performers revealed that their children often grew up in their dressing rooms because childcare, especially for single parents like LaChaze, Murphy and White, is often expensive and difficult to secure.

Clinton asked them if they ever had woman directors, and if so how that altered their experiences as mothers and actresses. The performers unanimously agreed it is a very different, more understanding environment under woman directors. Clinton said of patriarchal environments that "sometimes these things are really obvious, but more often than not they are subtle, aren't they?"

RELATED: Hillary Clinton Says Winning Next Election Is 'Most Important Thing' but Running Herself Is 'Out of Question' 

Hillary Clinton moderates a panel during BroadwayCon 2022 at The Manhattan Center on July 08, 2022 in New York City.
Hillary Clinton moderates a panel during BroadwayCon 2022 at The Manhattan Center on July 08, 2022 in New York City.

Michael Loccisano/Getty

Wrapping up the panel, Clinton concluded, "There's a lot to worry about right now in our country and the world, and I think we need theater and the arts more than ever." With that she asked her final question to the panelists, "What haven't you done that you want to do?"

White, who plays Harriet, the president's chief of staff in the Broadway comedy POTUS, said "I want to play the president of the United States." Clinton replied, "Well, I can give you lots of notes on that!"