Name the Pain and Proclaim Your Power Through Music

Heart & Soul – Posted by Editorial Staff – July 25, 2011

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Playwright Dorothy Marcic declares the significance of African-American women’s “her story” through music in her spirited new off-Broadway production, “Sistas the Musical.” Marcic’s “sistas” find solace and honesty in a musical journey from Ma Rainey to Beyonce that helps them explore painful experiences and find the strength to press on as a family of empowered women. With songs like “I Will Survive,” “Greatest Love of All,” and “Single Ladies,” the musical tells the story of a family’s search for unity and love and expresses appreciation for female trailblazers we often take for granted.

“We have so many freedoms now…You kind of forget the life women lived,” explains Dorothy Marcic, a professor at Columbia University and former Fulbright Scholar. Her piece shows African-American women have always been at the forefront of music with honest lyrics and captivating stories told through song. Such frankness and storytelling is so important in this day and age of uncertainty and cover-ups. “This is a time we need truth; to hear the truth and speak the truth. African-American women have been doing that all along,” she adds.
Not only is our music crucial to telling the truth about the tumultuous outward situations, it’s key to soothing our inward battles. Being still, listening to music for five minutes, sometimes even to an hour, eases the soul according to Marcic.

“Something about music just goes to your soul. There’s a song for everything.” For sensational “Sistas” actress, Patrice Covington, music acts as an escape, connection, and memory. “Music is how you meet everything,” she shares.

While Marcic is in-tune with her creative passion, she also juggles the business aspect of producing inspirational musicals, such as “RESPECT: Women and Popular Music and Love Lift Me Higher.” Tackling the details of investors, advertisement, public relations, and inevitable obstacles, Dorothy understands the most important point is to maintain organization. “You can’t be creative when you’re tied in knots,” she reasons. According to Marcic, “All it takes is time, energy, and focus…It’s fun if you make all the pieces work.”

To aspiring playwrighters, Dorothy encourages the constant reading and watching of great plays and developing a body of work. What better way to start than by experiencing “Sistas the Musical” this month.
Sieda Johnson

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