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ONWARD - Votes for Women (a play honoring the fight for Women's Suffrage)

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If you have any questions please contact the Associates of the Boston Public Library's office at 617-536-3886 or hello@AssociatesBPL.org

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Boston Public Library - Rabb Hall

700 Boylston Street

Boston, MA 02116

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If you have any questions please contact the Associates of the Boston Public Library's office at 617-536-3886 or hello@AssociatesBPL.org
Event description
Join us for a documentary play highlighting the voices and perspectives of the extraordinary women who fought for women's right to vote.

About this Event

Congress ratified the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, on August 18, 1920. To mark the upcoming 100th anniversary of this historic event, the Associates of the Boston Public Library commissioned a play celebrating many of the advocates who brought about this radical change.

Please join us for the world premiere of ONWARD – Votes for Women, a documentary play created by Lisa Rafferty, with music arranged and composed by Adam McDonald. The production offers the powerful and inspiring voices and perspectives of the extraordinary women who fought for seventy years for equality. Over twenty historical characters from the movement, along with women leaders from our time, will be portrayed by an ensemble of ten. The cast, featuring many renowned members of the Boston arts community, will play multiple roles, including: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Alice Paul, Mary Church Terrell, Louisa May Alcott, Shirley Chisholm, Betty Ford, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Gloria Steinem.

The script was created using language verbatim from documents in the Boston Public Library's Special Collections, and other speeches, letters, articles and interviews from a variety of sources. Suffrage music and songs will be interspersed throughout the production, along with an original score.

Doors to the Boston Public Library's Rabb Hall open at 6 PM and the performance starts at 6:30 PM. Seats are not guaranteed, and will be available on a first come, first seated basis. For more information, including the full cast, please see our Pierce Performance website.

ONWARD cast and production team at November 2019 table read.

Playwright, director, producer Lisa Rafferty creates documentary plays which celebrate the strength and resiliency of heroic women and men including SHE DID ALL THAT – Betty Ford: Speaking Out, Saving Lives, about the unforgettable First Lady; THE LEGACY OF WELLES REMY CROWTHER: The Man in the Red Bandanna, about the young man who died saving others on 9/11; and the world premiere of Boston Theater Company’s FINISH LINE, about the 2013 Boston Marathon, with Joey Frangieh. Her comedies – The MOMologues (1, 2 and 3), published by Samuel French, have appeared in 26 states and six countries. She is the recipient of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s the one hundred award for writing a comedy about breast cancer with other survivors, titled Pink Ribbon Overdose. Lisa is the Producing Director of the Elliot Norton Awards and teaches theater at Bridgewater State University. For more details, please see Birch Tree Productions.

Adam McDonald is the composer and music director for ONWARD. His background includes music directing the national tours of Wicked, and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. In New York, he music directed Far From Canterbury, and Songs for Slutty Girls. His regional shows include Titanic, Showboat, Footloose, Damn Yankees!, Cats, The Sound of Music, and Beauty and the Beast, all at The Muny, and Guys and Dolls, and The Game at Barrington Stage. Some of Adam’s other favorite projects include Company, Working, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Cabaret, Once on This Island, A New Brain, John and Jen, Curtains, Hello Again, William Finn’s Elegies; A Song Cycle, First Lady Suite, and The Rocky Horror Show. Adam performed Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2 as a guest soloist at Iowa State University, and Rhapsody in Blue as a guest soloist at The Boston Conservatory. He earned his Bachelor of Music from Iowa State University, and a Master of Music in Piano Performance from The Boston Conservatory.

Associates of the Boston Public Library is an independent nonprofit dedicated to preserving the Boston Public Library’s Special Collections of rare books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, musical scores and other items of literary, historic and cultural importance. The Associates makes grants to ensure continued public access to these irreplaceable treasures by underwriting their conservation, cataloging, digitization, and exhibition. Through these efforts, the Associates aims to help the BPL fulfill its most essential mission of providing top quality, free educational resources to the public, as well as preserving knowledge, culture, and history for the benefit of all.

The Associates' Pierce Performance Series seeks to raise the visibility of the Boston Public Library’s Special Collections through free public performances and lectures. Thanks to the generosity of the Harold Whitworth Pierce Charitable Trust we are excited that our second annual performance will celebrate women's suffrage.

From the Boston Public Library's Special Collections

Elizabeth Cady Stanton from the Boston Public Library's Special Collections

From the Boston Public Library's Special Collections

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Boston Public Library - Rabb Hall

700 Boylston Street

Boston, MA 02116

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