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ORIGINAL BROADCAST: Monday, March 1, 2010, 9-10:30 p.m. on CPTV (Check Listings)
Style icon, extravagant hostess, humanitarian, doting mother, trusted political advisor and diplomat. These are the roles we now expect in a First Lady, roles created by President James Madison’s wife, Dolley. Born in relative obscurity before the American Revolution, Dolley’s beauty attracted attention, but it was her political acumen that set her apart in a time when women held no overt political power. As the “first First Lady,” she used her unelected position to legitimize the nation’s new capital, to create a political and social style for the new country and to give Americans a sense of their own national identity. As her successors have done ever since, Dolley Madison adopted social causes of her own, including advocating for children left orphaned by the War of 1812. The film stars Tony Award-winner Eve Best (The Homecoming; “Nurse Jackie”) as Dolley Madison and Tony Award-winner Jefferson Mays (I Am My Own Wife) as James Madison.