She Persisted: The Musical
See this performance in San Francisco and Sunnyvale through April.
By Dhyana Levey, Amusements columnist
A disapproving congressman uttered the words “Nevertheless, she persisted” in 2017 after unsuccessfully attempting to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren during a hearing. While intended as a negative statement, the words instead went positively viral, a message to support women striving to be seen and heard.
Activist Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former First Lady and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, subsequently embraced the phrase to create her recent children’s book, She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World.
And from there, the statement persisted further.
It is now a rollicking and inspirational production by the Bay Area Children’s Theatre, based on Chelsea Clinton’s book. Appropriately titled She Persisted, The Musical, the show is finishing up its run in Berkeley before moving to theaters in San Francisco and then Sunnyvale on weekends through April 14.
Get your tickets to this well-received, occasionally tear-inducing play before it sells out.
She Persisted, The Musical chronicles the adventures of fourth-grader Naomi, thoughtfully portrayed by Vallejo-native Loreigna Sinclair. Supported by a strong voice and talented cast, Sinclair guides her character Naomi on a journey back in time as she struggles to complete an essay about her class field trip to the National Museum of Women in History.
With help from the sparkly, colorful but amusingly inexperienced daughter of Father Time, Naomi gets glimpses of the lives of accomplished women. The fourth-grader soon finds herself chatting with Sonia Sotomayor before she became the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, and accompanying Harriet Tubman while she led slaves to freedom in Canada.
These scenarios are set against the backdrop of charming illustrated projections that add character and context to each scene. Some acts are upbeat, such as Naomi’s interaction with track and field star Florence “Flo-Jo” Griffith Joyner as she wins the silver medal at the 1984 Olympics. Yes, second place is okay!
Some scenes and songs become more somber, like the touching portrayal of 6-year-old Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all-white public school in 1960 New Orleans. The song “Walk On” might cause a lump in your throat. I saw other audience members crying. Not me though. (Okay, me a little.)
“What if these women are naturally amazing and I’m not?” wonders an insecure Naomi as she compares herself to the inspirational women she meets. Will she gain the confidence she needs to become her own, personal best? Find out.
This musical production was adapted for the stage by screenwriter Adam Tobin after he read his daughter the Clinton book. It features music and lyrics by composer Deborah Wicks La Puma, who also worked on the show Elephant and Piggie’s: We Are in a Play!
She Persisted, the Musical is recommended for ages 5-12. See it on Saturdays and Sundays at San Francisco’s Children’s Creativity Museum Theater from March 9-31, and at the Sunnyvale Community Center April 6-14.
Showtimes: 10:30am, 1:30pm and 4pm.
Tickets: $28-34 adults, $24-30 ages 2-14.
For more information, contact the box office at 510-296-4433 or go to bactheatre.org.