Above, "Stewardess!" runs at the History Theatre through March 3. It features, from left, Elise Langer, Kimberly Richardson and Tracey Maloney (as Mary Pat Laffey Inman). (Photo by Scott Pakudaitis)
If the Notorious RBG says you're cool, you are cool.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the U.S. Court of Appeals decision that directed Northwest Airlines to pay $59 million to flight attendants who joined in a class-action suit fought from 1970-84 (the decision also helped clarify that civil rights includes women's rights). Recently, Ginsburg saluted the bravery of now-retired flight attendant Mary Pat Laffey Inman, who is at the center of Kira Obolensky's "Stewardess!," a new comedy currently at History Theatre. (Critic Rohan Preston said it's "jaw-dropping")
Although the decision was made more than three decades ago, a recent chain of events brought the now much more famous Ginsburg back into the stewardess story. Last summer, Ginsburg and her family were at an opera benefit that was catered by former flight attendant Patty Reller. The caterer was too shy to approach RBG to thank her for everything the decision did for women. But eventually she did get word to Ginsburg, who wrote Reller a thank-you note for the "delectable fare" and included a salute to Inman.
RBG said Inman is "a brave woman. Her case lingered long, had many ups and downs, but eventually set an important precedent."
Reller shared the letter with Inman, who never met Ginsburg (whom she calls "Ruthie") but says of the justice: "She has always been impressive. I heard my lawyers talking about her all the time and when they found out she was writing the opinion, they were all thrilled to bits."