UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Branded as the “most dangerous woman in America” according to one West Virginia judge, “at the crook of her little finger, [Mother Jones] could get 8,000 men to walk out on strike,” Mother Jones in Heaven centers on the life of Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, and combines storytelling with musical theatre to bring her incredible story to audiences nationwide in this one-woman performance. The State College performance is sponsored by the School of Labor and Employment Relations.
Jones was a fiery labor organizer in the late 1800s and early 1900s who fought tirelessly for the rights of the working class, advocated for fair wages and better working conditions while protesting against child labor. Her messages surrounding social justice and equal rights are as relevant today as they were more than 100 years ago.
The show opens as Mother Jones, portrayed by Vivian Nesbitt, enters heaven. Over the course of the 80-minute performance, Mother Jones looks back over the events of her life sifting through her storied past, balancing the scales. On one hand, her methods and practices, on the other, her reputation and results. Moments of profound insight are woven with hilarious tales of a hellion in her prime through original songs performed by Nesbitt’s husband, John Dillon.
Mother Jones in Heaven is currently on tour nationwide, reminding audiences of the power people have when taking action together for the betterment of others. The musical by State College native, Si Kahn, will be presented at The State Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 3.
Kahn has worked for over fifty years as a professional civil rights, labor and community organizer and musician, touring and recording with artists such as Pete Seeger.
“Anyone with even an inkling of interest in the history of the American labor movement, or just American history, should see Mother Jones In Heaven. Vivian Nesbitt’s dramatic embodiment of “Mother” Jones had me transfixed from start to finish. The musical interludes only heighten the dramatic quality of the play. A thoroughly enjoyable experience.” Doug Born, Pres. Southern Maine Labor Council/Treasurer Maine Chapter AFL-CIO, IATSE member.
Tickets are currently on sale and may be purchased on The State Theatre’s website.
Students/Seniors $23.50 (includes fees)
Adults $26.50 (includes fees)
The run time of this performance is 80 minutes with a Q&A to follow.