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Cedar Crest Performing Arts presents The Goddesses Part I: Being Female in America November 12-15

Allentown, PA (October 23, 2009)—Cedar Crest College Associate Professor of Performing Arts Marion McCorry is always searching for plays to direct that feature strong female characters, which is the reason she chose to direct Out of Our Father’s House—a play derived from the journals of pioneering women of the 18th and 19th century—at Cedar Crest several years ago.


Some of the prominent women featured in the Jack Hofsiss/Eve Merriam/Paula Wagner drama include Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a leader of the women’s suffrage movement; labor organizer “Mother” Mary Jones; and frontier minister Anna Howard Shaw. Each of these women fought against long odds for women’s rights that, at the time, were viewed by many as unattainable.

“I am always looking for roles for women that are inspirational,” said McCorry. “You see pictures of these women in hoop skirts going to conventions and printing newspapers and they don’t look real. What I wanted to do was bring their stories to life. As a woman you think you realize what their struggles were about, but you really can’t fully comprehend them unless you’ve been in their shoes. Some liberties and freedoms that seem essential to today’s women were considered criminal in earlier times.”

In some ways, the Cedar Crest production of Out of Our Father’s House was an original work. McCorry weaved a great deal of interactivity between the play’s heroines and added four “goddesses”—representing the classical elements of earth, fire, air and water—who performed various moves and dances in support of the play’s protagonists.

McCorry enjoyed that production so much, she decided to adapt it even further to include 20th century women of strength and achievement. The result is The Goddesses Part I: Being Female in America, which plays at Cedar Crest College from November 12-15 in the Samuels Theatre of Tompkins College Center.

In The Goddesses Part I, McCorry includes such well known women pioneers of the 20th century as aviatrix Amelia Earhart, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins; civil rights activist Rosa Parks; and clothing designer Coco Chanel, to name a few.

A prime example of the interconnectivity between characters is also one of the production’s lighter moments: the scene where Amelia Earhart—played by Cedar Crest College student Jen Schwab—talks onstage about the two questions she gets asked most about her trans-Atlantic voyage: “Was I afraid?” and “What did I wear?”

To which fashionista Coco Chanel—played by Cedar Crest student Amoren Jimenez—replies: “Well of course—what other question would anyone ask?”

The Goddesses Part I delivers a serious message, but it’s as much performance piece as dramatic play.

“The stage is really abstract—it’s a place where the goddesses bring these women so they can have their ideas expressed,” she said. “This is not a history lesson—with the goddesses on stage, it’s much more lively and fun,” said McCorry.

McCorry has been reading about the women in The Goddesses Part I—and being inspired by their stories—for years, and she hopes her enthusiasm in directing the play rubs off on others.

“I was shocked and amazed when I read about a lot of these women. They made things happen with a great deal of intelligence, cunning and courage. I chose these women because I simply like and appreciate them. The girls in the cast have found this play very inspirational,” she said.

The cast of The Goddesses Part I: Being Female in America includes the following Cedar Crest College students (and their roles): AnTionette Byers-Paredes of Charlotte, N.C. (Sojourner Truth); Hauna Colista of Biglerville, PA (Elizabeth Cady Stanton); Kathryn Martin of Eatontown, N.J. (Mother Jones); Caitlynne Brophy of Mount Holly Springs, PA (Maria Mitchell); Rachel Morgandale of Easton, PA (Amelia Bloomer); Colleen Aquino of Highland, N.J. (Anna Howard Shaw); Amoren Jimenez of Allentown, PA (Coco Chanel); Elizabeth Statham of Bangor, PA (Margaret Sanger and Anne Morrisey); Jennifer Schwab of Wind Gap, PA (Amelia Earhart); Carrie Moore of Reading, PA (Frances Marion); Courtney Bender of Grantville, PA (Frances Perkins); Victoria Richards of Oceanside, CA (Rosie the Riveter); Nicole Magloire of York, PA (Rosa Parks); Chealsea Anagnoson of Whitney Point, N.Y. (Gloria Emerson); Brandy Hill of Virginia Beach, VA (Denby Fawcett) and Catherine Meyett of Halethorpe, MD (understudy). Playing the roles of the goddesses are Melissa Keiser of Emmaus, PA (Fire); Desiree Cosgrove of Glen Mills, PA (Earth); Monique Trauger of Summit Hill, PA (Air); and Andrea Jordan of Jacksonville, FL (Water).

Set and lighting design for the play is by Cedar Crest College Professor of Performing Arts Roxanne Amico, and choreographer is Cedar Crest Director of Dance Robin Gerchman.

The Goddesses Part I: Being Female in America will play at Cedar Crest College on November 12-15 in the Samuels Theatre of the Tompkins College Center. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Tickets are $15 for Adults; $10 for Senior Citizens; and $5 for Students with ID. For tickets or information call the performing arts box office at 610-606-4608.


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Last Updated: 10/26/09