Existence, Persistence, Resistance from Off the Wall Productions is a cabaret-style event focusing on honoring the vital contributions women have made in the theater industry, particularly the performers, composers, and lyricists of musical theater. This celebration of women and their many talents features some of the best musical performers in Pittsburgh. Cassidy Adkins, Elizabeth Boyke, Cynthia Dougherty, Catherine Gallagher, Natalie Hatcher, Caroline Nicolian, Gena Sims, Monica Stephenson, Katie Trupiano, Sandy Zwier, and organizer Hilary Caldwell have prepared an array of songs written or composed by women, each one near and dear to the heart of the ladies who selected them, and some even come from outside of the musical theater scene. You will hear tunes made famous by Carole King, Sara Bareilles, Dolly Parton, Fiona Apple, and Mariah Carey. You might even get to hear pieces from a couple local composers too. It is an event that is sure to have something for everyone, and truly supports women of all walks of life.
Even more importantly, the proceeds of the night will go to support Planned Parenthood, one of the most needed health organizations in our country, and also one of the most demonized. The debate over taking away federal funding threatens millions of women, men, and non-binary individuals and their access to not only sex education and affordable birth control, but STI and cancer screenings, gender counseling, and hormone treatment. As Hilary Caldwell expressed in her statement about the performance, “Planned Parenthood is an organization that changes and enhances the lives of all women – straight, lesbian, bisexual, cis, and trans, of all racial and socio-economic backgrounds – with its medical, educational, and counseling services. It’s an organization for the people, by the people – what our government is supposed to be. We need to step up and do the work this administration is evidently unwilling to do, and take care of each other as we battle for our rights.” If we want to see women’s work in theater continue to proliferate and innovate, we must support our sisters in every aspect of their lives, especially their sexual lives.
The political scene over the past year have been surreal and it is hard to figure out how to stand up for each other, but sometimes the best way of helping is just celebrating our achievements together and finding joy in the midst of struggle. We resist simply by existing as authentically as we can, and applauding others for doing the same. Come join these gifted ladies as they exist, persist, and resist.