1937 Pro-Union Musical Pins and Needles Will Get a 2011 Update at the Foundry

News   1937 Pro-Union Musical Pins and Needles Will Get a 2011 Update at the Foundry
Brooklyn's theatrical collective The Foundry will re-examine Pins and Needles, the 1937 Broadway revue first written for the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union, for a contemporary audience beginning June 22.


Pins and Needles: A New Revolutionary Musical will unite pre-existing musical material by Harold Rome and original book material from Arthur Arent with updated sketches by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, Hallie Flanagan, Sara Zatz/Ping Chong & Co., and members of FUREE.

Ken Rus Schmoll (Middletown) will direct the June 22-July 9 run at Brooklyn's Irondale Center.

The Foundry has teamed with the Brooklyn-based advocacy group FUREE (Families United for Racial & Economic Equality) to take a fresh approach to the revue that was originally written for and performed by members of the ILGWU, "who sang out for all the people fighting for jobs, housing, a minimum wage, immigrants' rights and economic justice, and performed sketches that satirized the European fascists and the U.S. right-wing reactionaries who rose up against FDR's New Deal," according to presenters.

The updated production will incorporate roughly 10 original songs and sketches from the original, while adding music by Josh White and Lead Belly to explore the African-American experience of the period. References have also been updated to include Donald Trump, Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner, the anti-union legislation in Wisconsin, as well as the passing of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

Rather than employing professional actors, the cast of Pins and Needles will feature members of FUREE, including Shannon Barber, Stephen Barnes, Latisha Butler, Cynthia Butts, Marilyn Charles, Donna Douglas, Earlyn Ferguson, Lillian Hamilton, Ermias Harper, Yosef Harper, Debbie Howell, Wanda Imasuen, Euston James, Cory Jeminez, Rita Michelle, Jackie Phillip Valerie Phillips, Christopher Robinson, Nova Strachan and Marsha Zeigler. The creative team includes choreographer Camille A. Brown, musical director Richard Harper, Arnulfo Maldonado (set and costume design), Sara Sidman (lighting design) and David A. Schnirman (sound designer).

Pins and Needles: A New Revolutionary Musical is produced by Melanie Joseph, James LL Morrison and Sherrine Azab of the Foundry Theatre.

FUREE, which is led mostly by women of color, advocates for low-income families in the Brooklyn community to ensure affordable housing, sustainable jobs and community services.

For tickets, priced $25, phone (212) 352-3101 or visit TheFoundryTheatre.org. The Irondale Center is located at 85 South Oxford St. Brooklyn.

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