The life, times, passion, and politics of America’s iconic singer come to Park Square Theatre, March 8-26
Saint Paul, Minn., Feb. 17, 2016 – Park Square Theatre continues its 41st season next month with the world premiere of Nina Simone: Four Women by Minneapolis playwright Christina Ham. Commissioned by Park Square Theatre with support from VSA Minnesota, Nina Simone: Four Women celebrates the life and music of one of America’s most iconic singers and traces Simone’s pioneering involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Faye Price directs Regina Marie Williams* as the woman who raised her voice on behalf of all women made silent.
“The play looks at female solidarity through the lens of Nina Simone’s music,” says playwright Christina Ham. “While it celebrates the life and music of this artist, it also looks at how her music helped to transform the Civil Rights Movement. Her importance has been blotted out of the history books.”
Nina Simone’s velvet voice was unafraid to sing lyrics that cut right to the truth: “My skin is brown, my manner is tough…” From “I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl” to “Sinnerman,” and the “Four Women” of the title, her music explores the personal and political in context of the fight for civil rights. Simone’s lyrics weave together a story of four women left “feeling alienated and really low” due to the color of their skin. But through it all, they remain triumphant – four women proud “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” and sometimes even “Feelin’ Good.”
Against the explosive backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, Nina Simone: Four Women examines the sustained violence against African-American women that has contributed to feelings of marginalization and self-loathing, behavioral problems, and mental illness—issues that have never been easy to discuss within any community. Compounded by shame, embarrassment, and disenfranchisement, these issues have too often been passed on from one generation to the next. Ms. Simone’s music, rooted in social activism, gives voice to these issues that have roiled African-American and minority communities.
Nina Simone: Four Women features Aimee K. Bryant*, Thomasina Petrus*, Traci Allen Shannon*, and Regina Marie Williams*.
The production team for Nina Simone: Four Women includes Faye M. Price (Director), Sanford Moore (Musical Director), Lance Brockman (Scenic Designer), Trevor D. Bowen (Costume Designer), Mike Wangen (Lighting Designer), Abbee Warmboe (Properties Designer) Gina Musto (Dramaturg) and Elizabeth MacNally* (Stage Manager).
*Member, Actors Equity Association
Performance Schedule: Previews begin Tuesday, March 8, and continue through Thursday, March 10. March 11 is Opening Night, and the run continues through March 26. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. All performances are in the company’s Andy Boss Thrust Stage in Saint Paul’s historic Hamm Building, 408 St. Peter Street
Ticket Prices: Previews: $27 and $37. Regular Run: $40 and $60. Discounts are available for seniors, college students, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square ticket office, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at www.parksquaretheatre.org.
Previews: March 8-10
Regular Run: March 11-26
Tickets: Previews: $27/$37; Pay What You Will March 9; Regular Run: $40/$60
PARK SQUARE THEATRE, 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul
Box office: 651-291-7005 or parksquaretheatre.org
New! Pay What You Will Wednesday (calendar code = $)
A price for you (yes you). Pay a sliding scale of $15, $25 or $35 for general admission seating. Reserve the seats you prefer for $40 (which includes a drink voucher).
Written and directed by ADITA BRENNAN KAPIL
Previews: March 18-24, 2016
Opening Night: March 25, 2016
Regular Run: March 26 – April 10, 2016
Free should be devoted to Maggie, but she may be falling in love with Ram – accidentally. Free is deaf, and Ram teaches Sanskrit, but in their late-night internet exchanges they discover a deep connection based on the mystical affinity between their languages. Four people struggle to communicate in ways they can all understand in this confirming multilingual tribute to the power of love. Even if you don’t look, speak or love like these characters, they will take you into your own heart’s journey. “…a fascinating brew of emotion, wit and intellect that challenges its audience to reassess how the form of communication shapes understanding.” —Star-Tribune
PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. Box office: 651.291.7005. parksquaretheatre.org