Holding the Torch for Liberty

Holding the Torch for Liberty

Holding the Torch for Liberty tells the story of the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States, circa 1920.  Through ragtime, classic blues, New Orleans and Cuban infused original music, Holding the Torch for Liberty traces how courageous working women joined forces to fight for and win final passage of the 19th Amendment.  Combining actual historical events with magical realism, the Statue of Liberty comes to life, goes dancing in a Harlem nightclub, and later meets a determined group of suffragists, Ms. Liberty’s torch becomes a window to the future, as the roles for women in the country grow – women doctors, lawyers, engineers and even the president.  With the country openly divided, a lone congressman from Tennessee gets and inspirational letter from his mother reminding him that standing up for justice and doing what is right comes easily when you follow your heart.

 

Sarah, a seamstress at the Liberty Pants Factory and fellow suffragettes fight for the right to vote. They enlist the spirit of women to fight the forces of inequality. They are provoked by Wild Boars; a boisterous group of male chauvinists. But with the help of The Statute of Liberty overcome the obstacles against them.  

Music, Book and Lyrics by ELI YAMIN Book and Lyrics by CLIFFORD CARLSON

Cast: Holding The Torch For Liberty may be played with a flexible cast of as small as 12 actors or as many as 40 or more.  Doubling may occur throughout.  Likewise, some lines may be distributed to other characters to reduce the cast size.  Just be aware of dialogue that is significant to a particular character.

Characters:

NEWSGIRLS – young newspaper sellers, girls dressed as boys

LITTLE SISTER – youngest Newsgirl

SALLY – a helpful young woman, factory worker/suffragist

SUSAN – leader of the Suffragists

ALICE – a mover and a shaker, has a magical quality

MS. LIBERTY – The Statue of Liberty, French, whimsical/strong

ANNA – factory worker/suffragist

LUCY – factory worker/suffragist

INEZ – factory worker/suffragist

MARY – factory worker/suffragist, in love with Jason

CARRIE – factory worker/suffragist

ELIZABETH – factory worker/suffragist, religious tone

ROSE – factory worker/suffragist

ROSALI – factory worker/suffragist

RUTH – factory worker/suffragist

JASON – factory worker, Mr. Murdock’s handyman, in love with Mary

MR. MURDOCK – Liberty Pants Factory owner, capitalist

GRACE MURDOCK – wife of Mr. Murdock, mother of Sonny, supporter of women’s suffrage

SONNY MURDOCK – obedient son of Mr. Murdock and Grace Murdock, Tennessee legislator who casts final vote

LOU ANN WATERS – featured jazz singer

HEAD BOAR – leader of the male chauvinist lodge members

BROTHER THEO – male chauvinist lodge members

BROTHER ROSCOE – male chauvinist lodge members

BROTHER EDGAR – male chauvinist lodge members

BROTHER WALLACE – male chauvinist lodge members

BROTHER CLARK – male chauvinist lodge members

BROTHER CLARENCE – male chauvinist lodge members

BROTHER GUS – male chauvinist lodge members

CARLA – young hip woman, New York style dialect, dancer

JAILER – runs the jail, tough

SECRETARY – Sonny Murdock’s secretary in Tennessee

HOBO – man down on his luck, comedic

STATUE SELLER/PEANUTS & POPCORN SELLER – Statue of Liberty seller (subway), comedic; food seller (Yankee Stadium)

SAM – Yankee Stadium fan, interacts with Ms. Liberty

GUISEPPE – very young boy 8 years old, Italian dialect

GRANDMA/GRANDPA – Guiseppe’s grandmother or grandfather, Italian dialect

PATRICK/PATRICIA – young man or woman, Irish dialect

SHAWN/SHAINA – young man or woman, Irish dialect

RACHEL – Sara’s Mother, Sol’s wife, nagging, Jewish dialect

SOL – Sara’s father, Rachel’s husband, nagged, Jewish dialect

SARA – very young girl 8 years old, Jewish dialect

JACK – subway rider

POLICE OFFICER #1 – New York cop

POLICE OFFICER #2 – New York cop

TRAIN OPERATOR (V.O.) – subway announcer

YANKEE STADIUM ANNOUNCER (V.O.)

MR. SPEAKER – Tennessee speaker of the State House

SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN – Tennessee citizen

TENNESSEE RESIDENT – Male, conservative anti-suffrage citizen

Chorus Roles: FLAME DANCERS – dancers, invoke the spirit of women and freedom, FERRY MAN/BUS DRIVER BUTCHER, JAZZ MUSICIAN, SOLDIER, GEORGE & IRA GERSHWIN, MOTHER, FLAPPERS BAND LEADER- Master of Ceremonies at Eubie’s Club Add any number of extras,- FACTORY WORKERS/SUFFRAGISTS, WILD BOAR BROTHERS, ANTI-SUFFRAGE PROTESTORS, PEDESTRIANS, COPS, YANKEE STADIUM SPECTATORS

Accompaniment CD

Piano-Vocal Score

*Scores are also available for a Quintet (5 Musicians):

Piano

Clarinet (Bb)

Trombone

Bass (Upright)

Drums (Drum Set)