Hamilton College Department of Theatre to present SOUL SISTERS
January 7, 1997
Set against the background of the civil rights struggle of the sixties and moving into the Black/Jewish tensions of the subsequent years, this play follows two women - one Jewish and one African-American - as they experience public success, personal tragedy and finally a rediscovery of their roots. An established Jewish singer who made her name singing black blues songs feels betrayed when her African-American secretary ventures into the spotlight. The success of Cleo, her former assistant, and the decline in her own career cause Sandra to explore her way back to her people through her music. Finally, she meets the now famous Cleo on a more equal footing. An accident occurs which impacts their lives and threatens to tear apart a community where blacks and Jews live side by side. They join together and attempt to bring their people together at a rousing public concert.
SOUL SISTERS recognizes conflicts, but uses music to focus on common ground. A message of proud Jewish-American and African American identity is carried through such songs as Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" and "Strange Fruit," "We Shall Overcome," "Go Down Moses," Debbie Friedman's "Miriam's Song," "We Shall Be Free" by Jeff Klepper and Stuart Rosenberg, Mark Elliot's "Soul Sisters," Rolsalie Gerut's "We're Here," Doug Mishkin's "Climbing that Ladder" and a mixture of African, Hebrew and Yiddish folk songs. The varied musical score is handled magnificently by Vikki True and Jacque Tara Washington.