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What do a formerly enslaved woman running for her freedom, a hidden child during the Holocaust, and Mary Magdalene have in common?

More than you might think. These remarkably strong women are all featured as “characters” in Step Right Up, Ma’am - Stories of Resilience, a new TNW Ensemble Theater production exploring the theme of resilience.

The production includes the writings of poet, Fabu Phillis Carter, Dale M. Kushner, poet and novelist, and TNW’s own co-producing artistic director, playwright Danielle Dresden.

Performances in Overture Center’s Promenade Hall are set for 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday, June 21 and 22, and 3:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23.

Cut paper collage banners, by upstate New York visual artist Milly Charles, highlight the production’s themes and shape the stage environment. Performers are Nedra Bobo-Boyles, Liz Light, and Atlanta-based actor Eileen Koteles. Donna Peckett, TNW’s co-producing artistic director, stages this multi-disciplinary theater production. Lighting design is by Patricia Micetic, and Shane Heim is Stage Manager.

Poet Fabu’s writings, Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud, tell the stories of notable black women in history and their connections to Wisconsin. Dale M. Kushner’s poems, What Couldn’t Be Said, dive into the transformative experiences of women in myth and history, from desire through loss and grief to awakening. Dresden’s work, Henny & the Strawberries is based on the real-life experiences of her cousins as hidden Jewish children during World War II in the Netherlands. The play concludes with “characters” from each author coming together to find a way forward.

Tickets are $30 and available through the Overture Center Box Office, online, by phone at (608) 258-4141, email, or in person at 201 State Street.

Contact TNW Ensemble Theater at for more information.

Step Right Up Ma’am is made possible, in part, by support from the Great Performance Fund for Theater at Overture, a Field of Interest Fund at the Madison Community Foundation; Dane Arts, with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company, the Evjue Foundation, charitable arm of the Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation; the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin, and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Neil Allen Peckett Memorial Fund; and RoseDot.

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