I was intrigued by the notion of turning a historical story about women’s suffrage into a musical. Adryan Russ’ music and lyrics worked well in bringing writer and director Lloyd J. Schwartz’s book to the stage. Without the singing and dancing it would have been an enhanced, high speed history lesson, informative but not as entertaining.
By Carol Edger Germain
The story is about the deep friendship between Susan B. Anthony (Anna Mintzer) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Emily Abeles) and how their efforts powered the long-fought women’s suffrage movement. It starts with their meeting in 1851 and follows their 50+ years of activism, ending with their deaths in 1906 and 1902, respectively. Sadly, neither lived to see the ratification of the19th amendment to the constitution granting women the right to vote in 1920. It’s a whirlwind of dates and facts, including a fun interlude where the ladies celebrate in style the joy of wearing “bloomers” (which were created by women’s rights activist Amelia Bloomer). The supporting women’s rights pioneers are Jacquelin Lorraine Schofield, Carlin Castellano, Paige Berkovitz and Katherine Chatman.
The Sierra Madre Playhouse is a small, community-supported theater. In this production, they used recorded film and music to provide background images and music for the live singing and dancing. The actors were polished and enthusiastic, and connected with the audience with drama as well as humor. My brain was spinning with dates and facts, a few of which I did not recall, so I was spurred to do a bit of googling to refresh and enhance my knowledge. The common knowledge of how many decades it actually took to enforce the notion in the Declaration of Independence that “all ‘men’ are created equal” and confirm that that declaration unequivocally includes ALL citizens, regardless of sex, color, or ethnic background was daunting enough, but my googling immediately brought up an interview the next morning with Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, Harvard professors who have written two books ,”How Democracies Die” and “Tyranny of the Minority,” about how democracy is grinding its gears and is struggling to maintain the standards we all assume we are entitled to. “The Right is Ours!” is a reminder that we should not take our democracy for granted. We should exercise our right to speak our minds and register our votes.
Sierra Madre Playhouse 87 W. Sierra Madre Boulevard Sierra Madre, CA Free parking available behind the Playhouse and on the street Several dining establishments just yards from the Playhouse. Through Oct. 8; Fri. & Sat. at 8:00 pm, Sun. at 2:00 pm Tickets (626) 355-4318 or sierramadreplayhouse.org
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