Encore Michigan

Wild Swan’s “Rosie the Riveter” returns in March for four performances

Preview February 10, 2017 Encore Staff

ANN ARBOR—Nationally acclaimed Wild Swan Theater continues its 37th season with Rosie the Riveter. Back by popular demand, this original musical production explores the lives of women who helped establish southeast Michigan as the “Arsenal of Democracy” during World War II.  Written by playwright Jeff Duncan with music by composer Brian E. Buckner, it tells the remarkable story of the women who filled thousands of factory jobs left empty by men suddenly called to war during a momentous era in Michigan and American history.

Created for upper elementary, middle, high school, and family audiences, Rosie the Riveter is based on interviews with a group of original Rosies, now in their 90s, who worked at the Ford Motor Company Bomber Plant at Willow Run.  Completed in 1941, it was the largest factory in the world under a single roof.  With the cooperation of the Michigan Chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association (ARRA), we are thrilled to be uncovering and sharing the stories of these trailblazing women who helped redefine the roles, expectations, and occupational choices of women.   The four main characters in the play all come to the factory to help the war effort but have different back stories.  Donna (Marlene Inman) is a hairdresser form Ypsilanti with two children whose husband is at the front.  Berenice (K Edmonds) is leaving the Jim Crow South and domestic servitude for her first paying job. Liz Marie, (Aynsley Martindale) discovers the pain of leaving loved ones behind.  Giving up her studies at Michigan State Normal College, Kathryn (Sarah Briggs) thinks she will be using her college skills in the factory office but instead become a riveter like the others. Shelly Tocco and Erin Parrish, American Sign Language Performers, round out the cast.

Performances will take place March 9 though March 11. Tickets are available at www.wildswantheater.org.