A little over a year ago, you would not have been able to convince the majority of the population that a musical based on the life of one of America’s founding fathers would ever succeed. Let alone blow us all away with its incredible music, lyrics, and cast.
Today, August 18th, marks the anniversary of the Women's Suffrage Amendment being ratified. In celebration of this amazing achievement, we’re highlighting some incredible women from history that deserve to be immortalized alongside the likes of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington in their own epic Broadway musical. Because women all earned that honor.
Anne Bonny and Mary Read
Historical Background: Anne Bonny and Mary Read are the most famous (and ferocious) female pirates in history. The two women are known for their violent tempers, bloodthirsty fighting styles, and for sharing a reputation of being "fierce hellcats." They sailed with Calico Jack, raiding and pillaging throughout the Caribbean and up the Eastern coast of the United States. When their ship was finally raided by the British Navy while anchored off the coast of Jamaica, the two women were the only ones to stand their ground and fight, while all the drunk men hid below deck. Sadly the two were taken into custody where Mary later died in prison. However, there’s no recorded death for Anne, so we can assume that she escaped and lived out her life telling stories of her pirating days.
Musical: Done in the heavily thematic style of Wicked with a little bit of The Pirates of Penzance thrown in for good measure. It would feature dramatic music, engaging battle scenes, and snappy dialogue.
Historical Background: Also known as Mademoiselle Maupin or La Maupin, Julie D’Aubigny was a bisexual 17th century opera singer and well-known swordsman. She had a wild reputation: she ran away from Paris with her male lover, helped a female lover escape a convent, and fought a Duke’s son in a duel, driving her sword through his shoulder. She went on to a popular career in the opera, which was cut unfortunately short when she kissed a young woman at a society ball and was subsequently challenged to duels by three different noblemen. While she was able to defeat them all soundly, she broke the king's law that forbade duels in Paris. She fled to Brussels where she lived before returning to Paris sometime before her death at the young age of 33.
Musical: Designed and style to feel more like an Opera than a traditional Broadway show, this musical would feature sweeping overtures, operatic themes, and dramatic dialogue.
Historical Background: A student at the University of Munich during World War II, Sophie was a vocal anti-Nazi activist. Along with her brother, she was one of the founders of the White Rose, a non-violent and intellectual resistance group. The group wrote, printed, and distributed leaflets calling out the Nazi’s crimes and their persecution of the Jews. Sophie helped with the distribution of the leaflets, as she was less likely to be stopped and questioned than the men would. She was arrested, along with her brother and another founding member, at the University on February 18, 1943. The three were found guilty of treason and beheaded for their crimes, but their legacy lives on.
Musical: A mash-up of Rent and Waitress in terms of style. The dialogue is witty and snappy, but the music is wistfully sweet, slow, and meaningful.
Historical Background: On December 1, 1955, while riding on a bus in Montgomery, Al, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. She was arrested, but her act of defiance became a symbol for the Equal Rights Movement. Her quiet, determined resistance of racial segregation earned her a place in the history books, as Congress called her "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement."
Musical: Similar in style to Hamilton, this musical features music and lyrics by Outkast. The dialogue would be limited, choosing to deliver most of the story through song and verse instead.
Historical Background: While Amelia is best known as the first female pilot to complete a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, she also broke quite a few records, wrote a number of books, and helped found an organization for female pilots. In her spare time she was a visiting professor at Purdue University, a member of the National Women’s Party, and a supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. Her incredible life was cut tragically short when her plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during an attempt at completing the longest flight around the world.
Musical: Done in the style of Newsies, this musical captures that “us against the world” feeling through spunky dialogue, catchy lyrics, and upbeat music.