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New musical Savage is a story with a story. In this episode the show’s originator Nicolette Blount talked about how writing the show became a journey to discover more about herself, her heritage and how indigenous people are treated by Broadway and US theatre in general.
Savage is about Nicolette’s great grandmother Mattie Owanda Hardwicke who, like Nicolette, is a proud member of the Chickasaw nation. After an early widowhood she went to perform in vaudeville as Wanda Savage in a sharp shooting act and then went to Hollywood where her skin and hair had to be lightened in order for her to work. Despite getting work, the movie dream turned sour and she wound up in brothel from where she turned her life around again - almost!
By telling her story today, Savage looks at women’s rights and opportunities in the 1920s and also allows us to draw our own conclusions about how opinions and prejudices around race, gender and skin colour continue to pervade our culture today.
Nicolette’s own story will inspire everyone who has experienced barriers to expressing their creativity. Nicolette is a 50 year old woman who has already brought up a family and now has written a show as and about an Indigenous or Native American person - a group who make up less than 1% of Broadway’s legions of creatives, writers, performers and technicians.
The issues around Native American representation in US theatre that Nicolette explains are thought provoking. Storytelling is an essential part of Native American culture which makes us question why that is not translated into theatre which is a storytelling art form.
Above all, this episode tells a story of how a creative idea becomes a tangible reality. How a show moves from chords on a piano and lines on a notepad through workshops, and readings to full production, 54 Below and Broadway Shark Tank. As Nicolette says ‘ You need to take every opportunity you can’
Enjoy the podcast and please let me know your thoughts.
If you would like to learn more about Savage The Musical go to:
Songs from Savage feature in the podcast and the soundtrack is available on Apple Music and Spotify
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