This October 22–24, Theatre Oxford and the League of Women Voters of Oxford/North Mississippi will present It’s My Party!, written by Ann Timmons, as part of a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
The play, originally developed in conjunction with Pipeline Playwrights, examines what happens when two different factions ignite political change using wildly different tactics. It’s My Party! explores the generational split that threatened the suffragists’ march toward the 19th Amendment. Competing strategies, daring stunts, and bitter rivalries abound, along with the hope and persistence it takes to get something done in Washington. It features characterizations of famous suffragists, including Alice Paul, played by Robyn Medeiros; Carrie Chapman Catt, played by Jennifer Mizenko, and Mississippi’s own Ida B. Wells-Barnett, played by Allyson Alford. The all-female cast also includes Jennifer Lauriello, Marjorie Buckley, Lynn Wells, Susan Bradley, and Brenna Paola.
Theatre Oxford expressed gratitude for the support of the League of Women Voters. Ruth O’Dell, the Chairman of the Centennial Committee, said, “We are thrilled to be a partner with Theatre Oxford to celebrate the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The play will feature some of the greatest characters in the women’s suffrage movement. Go back in time with Theatre Oxford and relive this exciting moment in American history!”
COVID-19 guidelines require limited attendance to accommodate social distancing, and masks will be required for all audience members. Tickets are $10 for Theatre Oxford members, students, and seniors, and $15 for non-members. They can be purchased online at oxfordarts.com. Online sales will end at 5 pm on the day of the show. Tickets will be available at the door, and the show will start at 7:30 pm each night.
Q&A with Director Jackie Daniels
What are some of your favorite things about this play?
First of all, it is wonderful to direct an all female cast, my first. I love the parallels to today, but most of all I found the history so thrilling. I also wondered why more of this chapter in history is not taught in our public schools. Learning about these courageous women inspires me and makes me want to work harder to make our country a better place to live and work.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in producing this play during a pandemic?
It was not always easy to move the actors around on the stage and have them remain six feet apart. The lack of touching was difficult to deal with too. Keeping the stage pictures natural looking always presents a problem, but with the social distancing, it was challenging. The cast also wants to get to know each other, but they too must comply with keeping their distance. We all enlarged our personal bubbles!
What do you hope the audience will take away from the performance?
A better awareness of the problems we face today and a true appreciation of the work our foremothers did. Also, I hope it makes us treasure the right to vote.
Any special mentions of exemplary cast or crew?
They are all wonderful. Rene Pulliam has been instrumental in teaching us more about how to organize and run theatrical matters. Her proficiency has truly improved production at Theatre Oxford. Bud and Julie Fanton have brought their professional knowledge of television and film which has upgraded us at Theatre Oxford. I am also impressed with our community and Ole Miss actors. My stage manager, Jake Hall, has worked tirelessly to do everything he can to ensure our success.