College of HUMANITIES, ARTS & SCIENCES

Photo of Nancy Opel

Iowa-written and produced musical commemorates 100 years of the ratification of the 19th Amendment

 

CEDAR FALLS, IOWA - August 18, 2020 marked the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which allowed it to become the law of the land after a more than 70-year effort by multiple women, including Iowa’s Carrie Chapman Catt. The producers of the new musical “The Suffragist” are thrilled to announce that Tony-nominated actress Nancy Opel will be starring as Chapman Catt in the world premiere of the musical. 

Originally scheduled to be produced in June 2020, the premiere of “The Suffragist” was postponed for the safety of cast, production staff and audiences due to the pandemic. The musical will now run July 17 through 19, 2021 at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the University of Northern Iowa campus.

It will be directed by New York-based director, Rachel Klein, with Stephanie Klapper as casting director, book and lyrics by Cavan Hallman and music by Nancy Hill Cobb - a former UNI School of Music instructor.

Opel was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical in 2002 for her role as Penelope Pennywise in “Urinetown.” Other Broadway credits are “Evita,” “Teddy and Alice,” “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Anything Goes,” “Memphis” and “Cinderella.” She was nominated for the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in “Honeymoon in Vegas.” Her television credits include “Law and Order,” “Law and Order Criminal Intent” and “Law and Order SVU.” 

“As a storyteller in a world turned upside down, I am grateful to be working on a piece about significant, necessary change. It's an honor to be working with Nancy Opel on this vital story from history," said Klein. "She's an incredible talent and a thoughtful actor, and I have no doubt that her performance will inspire and educate audiences about this campaign, fought before our time.”

The musical also features major characters from the movement such as Alice Paul, Ida B. Wells, Lucy Burns and Inez Milholland. “The story depicted in “The Suffragist” centers on the bravery and persistence of the women who fought for the rights that we have today, despite the abuses they endured." Klein said. "And their story is not yet finished. From reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act to ratifying the ERA, we find that, a century on, their struggle continues.”

“After working on this musical as a composer for four and a half years, it’s extremely thrilling to announce this casting,” says Hill Cobb. “I hope that women and men everywhere remember how hard fought the right to vote was, and how important it is to continue to honor the women of the past by casting our votes every election we can. It wasn’t that long ago that this right was denied to so many. Showing up at the polls at every election ensures their fight was not in vain.”

Tickets to the production go on sale March 1, 2021, starting at $19, with special rates available for large groups. Call UNItix at (319) 273-4849 for more information. Tickets can be purchased from any UNItix location or at unititx.uni.edu/suffragist.

“The Suffragist” is funded by a host of organizations and individuals, including Iowa Arts Council, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, CRST International, Hard Won-Not Done and the University of Northern Iowa.