The Open Eye Theater in Margaretville, Delaware County, NY, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York State with a new musical, Seneca Falls, to debut July 20th.
Written by Karen Howes, with music by Elliot Sokolov, the musical traces the beginnings of the Suffrage movement from 1848 to 1882.
Seneca Falls takes its name from the first Women’s Rights Convention which took place at that location, one hundred sixty-nine years ago, on July 18 and 19, 1848. Although New York State finally granted women the right to vote in 1917, women weren’t given voting status nationally until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920.
The play provides insight into the social issues of the times – including women’s rights and abolition of slavery – through the eyes of a newspaperman, John Tanner (Ward Stevenson), and his cub reporter, William Pelham Wright (Cedric Taylor), known as Will. Moving through time, the play changes locations including Boston, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse, and Seneca Falls, as it traces the determination of a small group of women and men to make history by challenging the widely-held beliefs and political positions that kept women “in their place.”
Among characters are Elizabeth Cady Stanton (played by Patricia Dell), an abolitionist and one of the earliest activists for women’s rights; and her husband, Henry Brewster Stanton (Jerrold Reinstein), a prominent attorney and abolitionist himself. Other prominent figures are Susan B. Anthony (Anne Saxon-Hersh), leader of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, who would go to jail for her beliefs; and Sojourner Truth (Irene Kellogg), the former slave and abolitionist, known for her resounding rhetoric. Playing the other historical characters are Jonathan Andrews, Anne Barone, Elizabeth Kemble, Agnes Laub, Roy Moses, Daniela Sumerano, and Madison Tobon.
Performances are July 20-30, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Seating is limited. Tickets may be purchased online, by phone at (845) 586-1660, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seneca Falls is directed by Open Eye Producing Artistic Director Amie Brockway, who recently received the American Alliance for Theater and Education Sara Spencer Award for Artistic Achievement. Dick Tucker is music director; Erwin Karl is set and lighting designer; Marge Helenchild is choreographer; Yoshi Conover is costumer; Darlene DeMaille is production stage manager; Gerry Conlon and Ron Nash are assistant stage managers; and Linda Stevenson is production assistant.
Playwright Karen Howes is a resident playwright at SkyLight Theater in Los Angeles, and a member of the Dramatist Guild. She has worked with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she has served as Artistic Director for The Young Actors Ensemble. Ms. Howes is currently a professor at The New York Film Academy, where she teaches Writing, History of Theatre, Comparative Literature and a course on Playwrights and Screenwriters.
Elliot Sokolov has composed the scores for several productions including La Belle au Bois, The Minataur Among Us, The Odyssey, The Nightingale, and Dulce Domum. His career spans broadcast and TV, comprising music scores for documentary films, among them Academy Award-nominated, The Restless Conscience. Elliot’s TV credits include PBS programs, Nova, Nature and Sesame Street. Among his grants and awards, Elliot has received a Composer Fellowship from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.
The Open Eye Theatre is located at 960 Main Street, Margaretville. For more information, visit their website.