By Holli Harms
She Persisted, The Musical, based on the book by Chelsea Clinton, is an homage to all those women who did not take no for an answer and who achieved their remarkable goals in spite of outside obstacles and inside negative voices that will always be present on the path to any success.
It’s field trip day for Naomi’s (Amber Jaunai) 4th-grade class and they are headed to the Women’s History Museum. Their teacher, Ms. Chan (Heather Sawyer), has told the students that at the end of the field trip each student is expected to write an essay about one of the women featured in the museum and now nine-year old Naomi is in a panic. She is not so great at essays. She is actually pretty terrible, or so she keeps telling herself. This essay request has all of Naomi’s negative thoughts about herself bubbling to the top. She says, “When I mess up, I deflate.” So here she is a deflating mess, and then… she meets Time. Well, Time’s daughter (Sawyer), who decides that traveling back in history to meet some of these amazing women and find out how hard it was for them is the best remedy for Naomi’s negative outlook. This is a protagonist that all kids can relate to and adults.
The book has a brief one-paragraph bio of the 13 women Clinton chose to highlight, the musical chooses five of them and explores further their work and their obstacles both emotional and physical.
The women are Sally Ride (Amanda Corday), Ruby Bridges (Auberth Bercy), Sonia Sotomayor (Jianzi Colon-Soto), Harriet Tubman (Cynthia Nesbitt) and Florence Griffith-Joyner (Nesbitt). Naomi finds out that these women all had setbacks and failures and negative thoughts, but how they bounced back from disappointment is how they persevered.
The words (script and lyrics by Adam Torbin) that are said are mantras for all of us: “Love yourself even when you fail.” “If you’re not your number one fan, who will be.” “Every person’s got their own road, you’ll find yours.” “I have hope.” They are all inspirations to Naomi and to the audience of young girls and boys and their adults. I found out so much about the difficulties of these women that I did not know and had a renewed even deeper respect for them.
Wonderfully directed and choreographed by MK Lawson. The songs are all terrific and the dancing energetic and fun and the six diverse talented women on the stage are themselves inspirations. You will leave the theatre feeling energized and ready for life’s obstacles. Come on bring it on!
If your child has the book, bring it with you to the show and have the cast sign it afterward. How cool is that!
She Persisted the Musical script and Lyrics by Adam Tobin, Directed and Choreographed by MK Lawson, Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, Music Supervision by Macy Schmidt, adapted from the book written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Alexandra Bioger
With: Aubert Bercy, Jianzi Colon-Soto, Amanda Corday, Amber Jaunai, Cynthia Nesbit and Heather Sawyer
At Atlantic Theater’s Linda Gross Theater 336 West 20th
FEBRUARY 22 – MARCH 22, 2020
Run Time: The show runs approximately 60 minutes, with no intermission.
Note: All seating is general admission. The Linda Gross Theater does not have a coat check, but there is space in our lobby to leave strollers. Should you have any other questions, feel free to email us at email@example.com.
Note: Saturday, March 7 is a Relaxed Performance: an event designed with accommodations for individuals who would benefit from a more relaxed theater-going environment. For more details, click HERE!
The Atlantic I have often said is one of the best Children’s performance theaters in the city. They bring broadway quality work to children’s theater that promotes kindness and inclusion.