'Nina Simone Four Women' director previews Seattle Rep show, discusses songs of protest | KNKX

'Nina Simone Four Women' director previews Seattle Rep show, discusses songs of protest

May 7, 2019

Seattle Rep’s show “Nina Simone Four Women” plays through June 2. It’s not a biography and it’s not a musical review. This “play with music” imagines Nina Simone in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, just after the 1963 bombing that killed four young girls. 

Already reeling from the murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers earlier that year, Simone reacts by composing her first songs of protest. She’s joined by three women who are based on the characters in her song, “Four Women.”

In this Studio Session, director Valerie Curtis-Newton gives us the background and overview of the show, and tells us a bit about herself and about the playwright, Christina Ham. The cast describe their characters, and deliver two powerful songs, including the show closer “Freedom Song,” which was written by cast member Shontina Vernon.

Musicians:

Shontina Vernon

Shaunyce Omar

Britney Simpson

Porsha Shaw