Quote of the Day: The original Pins and Needles was a musical revue created and performed by the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU).  It ran on Broadway from 1937 to 1940 and was performed in the White House for Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt in 1938.  It was the first and only successful Broadway musical to be produced by a labor union and performed by union members who were unknown non-professionals. It closed on June 22, 1940 after 1,108 performances!

Remembering Pins & Needles cast: Kenyai O’Neal, Christine Wade, Elena Glass, and Paul Coate.

It seems that historical musicals are quite popular, today with Hamilton, and in the late 1930’s with Pins & Needles. Add to the fact that it covers topics that the working class can relate to and casts people who represent a broad section of the population, and you’ve got a hit.

What a fun way to learn more about Labor Unions, the garment industry and the people who worked there, and the way they brought their story to light. Four performers and five musicians recreate this docu-musical. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance with its great songs that are fun and jazzy, or sweet and melodic (think, Cole Porter era), fun lyrics, and interesting facts about the Labor Union, the workers, and their show. I especially liked the song and choreography for “Not Cricket to Picket” and the sweet melody to “Sunday in the Park.” Run time is about 80 minutes, no intermission, and all seats are pay what you can. Also, theater-goers are encouraged to bring a donation for their school supply drive. 

Theatre Elision is performing Remember Pins & Needles at the Howard Conn Fine Art Center in Minneapolis. Parking is free in the church lot. It runs through September 16, 2018. Book by Cindy Polich. Music by Harold Rome. Music Arrangements by Harrison Wade, who is also the Music Director and Pianist. Lindsay Fitzgerald directs this fun show with lively music, great choreography, fantastic vocals by the entire cast, and excellent performance by the four piece band. If I lived in Minneapolis, I’d go see it again!

You can reserve tickets by visiting Theatre Elision website. They’ve been sharing old photos and fascinating facts from the original show on their Twitter. Check them out!

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: Are you, or have you ever been, a member of a union? What do you think happened to Jimmy Hoffa?