Tonya Harding, Tragic Muse? More Works Explore a Skating Scandal


The enduring fascination with the case is, of course, fueled by ’90s nostalgia and the feverish draw, much accelerated since 1994, of watching a celebrity behave badly. But “T.” continues a longstanding conversation about Ms. Harding as a misunderstood, class-cornered dark horse to Ms. Kerrigan’s endorsement-deal princess.

Mr. Aibel said his play, like recent films about flash-point ’90s crimes (“O.J.: Made in America,” “Casting JonBenet”) tried to bring awareness to “issues of class and race and the extent to which they are determinative of life prospects,” while not “airbrushing the rough edges or the absurdity of the plan” to attack Ms. Kerrigan “and the brutality of it.”

“There’s something inherently theatrical about the juxtaposition of skating and violence, which was so intriguing to the country at the time,” said Mr. Aibel, who calls “T.” a “history play.”

“It’s an American story of people striving and trying to thread the needle of success,” he said. “In some ways it’s a very classical arc.”

Whether they’re campy or cold sober, here’s a look at how other projects are rethinking, and have rethought, the real Ms. Harding.

Photo

Margot Robbie, who will play Tonya Harding in the film “I, Tonya.”

Credit
Emily Berl for The New York Times

Film

‘I, TONYA’ This biopic, set for release next year, will star Margot Robbie as Tonya, Caitlin Carver as Nancy and Allison Janney as Tonya’s mother, LaVona Golden. Ms. Janney, who has described Ms. Golden as “one cruel bitch,” said on “What What Happens Live With Andy Cohen” that far from avoiding the project, Ms. Harding had “been in contact with the writer for the whole thing.” She added, “I think people will feel a lot more sympathy for her.”