SPECIAL PREVIEW: Glow’s Raising Voices Series Tells ‘Herstory’

BY SANDY STAGGS
DRAMA CRITIC

Glow Lyric Theatre kicks off its 2019 “Raising Voices” series May 6-7 with the world premiere of a new musical work by Upstate songstress Jessica Eckenrod that examines the journeys of women throughout history, and the incredible experiences and tales they have to share.

Eckenrod, known to Upstate audiences most recently for her electrifying portrayal of Effie White in “Dreamgirls” at Centre Stage and last season’s turn as Sarah in “Ragtime” at Greenville Theatre (Winner of the 2018 Best Supporting Actress award by CCC readers and critics), describes the one-act musical she also directs “Herstory: How She Saw It” as “a song cycle.”

Glow co-founder Jenna Tamisea Elser approached Eckenrod about six months about collaborating on a project about the #MeToo movement in the company’s “Raising Voices” series and its mission of producing social justice theatre.

“I am wholeheartedly in support of the #MeToo movement,” Eckenrod told CCC. “There is sadness and I really didn’t want to get caught up in that and instead focus on the empowerment in the movement.”

After much deliberation, Eckenrod, Production Manager at Centre Stage and currently in rehearsals for both “HerStory” and “Cry it Out” at The Warehouse Theatre, decided to highlight famous “women of the past who have propelled us forward.”  

She began composing and originated a storyline about a young woman who is in “a moment of conflict and trying to figure out her next step in life and reaches out to these historical figures.”

“I’m not a very dramatic person,” she said. “I am all about the music and all about the feel-good aspect.”

Eckenrod sings and plays piano in the show which also stars two her super-talented gal pals Mary Evan Giles and Morgan Voke-Thomason.

She doesn’t want to reveal which women she and her co-stars will “resurrect” in “HerStory,” because as of this interview, she is still developing the script and not sure exactly which stories they will be using.

“It’s difficult writing new music for so many parts and I want it to be grounded as possible,” said Eckenrod, who already has one full original musical to her credit, “Letters From the Public: And Other Scary Stories,” an intimate show she co-wrote and presented in 2016 with her now-fiancé choreographer Michael Cherry.

Three years in the making, “Letters from the Public” was based on letters and short stories about major life events that people sent to the couple.

“For me, this is just a short time for songwriting [as compared to ‘Letters’], but I think it will be something special.”

“Herstory: How She Saw It” runs for two nights only May 6-7 at 7:30 pm at The Warehouse Theatre, 37 Augusta St. in Greenville. For tickets, visit http://www.glowlyric.com.

Glow’s Summer Season featuring “My Fair Lady,” “Carmen,” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” runs July 18-Aug. 4 at The Warehouse Theatre, 37 Augusta St. in Greenville. For tickets, visit http://www.glowlyric.com.

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