History Theatre will honor the legacy of Nellie Stone Johnson, a Minnesota labor and civil rights activist who broke countless race and gender barriers during her lifetime of civil service in countless community leadership roles, running now through February 17, 2013. Get a first look at the production in the photos below!
The new play by local playwright Kim Hines introduces audiences to a bright and spirited 90-year-old Nellie (played by Greta Oglesby
) reflecting back on her life and choices as a determined and fiery young woman (played by Shá Cage) at the start of her work in labor organizing in the 1930s. Nellie moved to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota with plans to study agriculture so that she could run her family's farm near Hinkley, MN. While attending the U of M, Nellie connected with community leaders, joined student groups, and began to learn all she could about organizing and leadership. When the wages of the employees of the Minneapolis Athletic Club were sharply cut, Nellie was ready to take action and began to form a union.
Nellie is a world premiere commissioned and developed at History Theatre with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. It is written by Kim Hines, directed by Richard D. Thompson, and features Greta Oglesby and Shá Cage as Nellie Stone Johnson. They are joined by an ensemble that includes Ron Collier, Lynnea Monique Doublette, James Craven, Jen Maren, Charles Fraser, and Tom Winner.
Nellie plays Thursdays & Fridays @ 10:00 a.m.; Fridays & Saturdays @ 8:00 p.m.; and Sundays @ 2:00 p.m. Audio Described and ASL interpreted performance on 2/3/13 at 2:00 p.m. All performances take place at History Theatre, 30 East Tenth Street, St. Paul, MN. For tickets and more information, call the History Theatre Box Office at 651.292.4323 or go online.
Photo Credit: Scott Pakudaitis
ShÃ¡ Cage as Nellie Stone Johnson when she was a young woman working as a maid at the Minneapolis Athletic Club.
Greta Oglesby as Elder Nellie remembers the voice of her father played by James Craven.
Captain Crowder (played by James Craven) dresses down Nellie Stone Johnson (played by ShÃ¡ Cage) when she is fired from the Minneapolis Athletic Club.
Nellie (played by ShÃ¡ Cage) is tormented by a classmate (played by Charles Fraser) when she attends the University of Minnesota.
Greta Oglesby plays Nellie Stone Johnson, remembering conversations with her mother (played by Lynnea Monique Doublette) and grandmother (played by Jen Maren).
Elder Nellie (played by Greta Oglesby) remembers meeting her first husband Clyde Stone (played by Ron Collier) when she was a young woman (played by ShÃ¡ Cage) at a community dance.
Nellie (played by ShÃ¡ Cage) tries to explain her commitment to creating a union to her husband Clyde (played by Ron Collier) as Elder Nellie (played by Greta Oglesby) watches.
Swan Assarson (played by Charles Fraser) and Elder Nellie (played by Greta Oglesby) speak of the importance of working together to create a union.
Elder Nellie (seated at center, Greta Oglesby) remembers when she (played by ShÃ¡ Cage) and her co-workers (l to r: Tom Winner, Ron Collier, Lynnea Monique Doublette, and Charles Fraser) discuss what they want to ask for when they meet with the management of the Minneapolis Athletic Club.
Nellie (ShÃ¡ Cage) and Nellie Stone Johnson (Greta Oglesby) share a moment of reflection.