Its a womans world play photo
Andy Vance wrote and directed the musical as her senior project for her performing arts administration major.
Photo by Ray Gapinski

Student-Written, -Directed Musical ‘It’s a Woman’s World’ Debuts

Heather Gierke

MU Theater Society’s production of “It’s A Woman’s World” premiered April 23 and 24.

The musical follows Rosalina, played by Karen Jimenez, as she narrates the stories of six women as they fight for their places as women in today’s world.

Sisters Olive (Kora Beasley) and Scarlet (Andy Vance) are torn by their mother’s death and Scarlet’s abusive boyfriend. Violet (Gracianne Nohl) is trapped in a controlling marriage, where she isn’t allowed to work or mow the lawn. Celeste (Aubree Hall) is denied a promotion in favor of a male coworker, and Daisy (Jennifer Wagner) discovers she is being paid less than her male partner for the same job. Alani (Ken Watson-Haynes) is sexually harassed for both being a woman, and being Black.

Rosalina helps empower each woman, helping them sort through their situation and take action.

The musical handled themes of domestic violence and sexual abuse and harassment in a way that stood out to many members of the audience. “Seeing Scarlet get backhanded onstage was very powerful,” said first-year Liz Perez. “She made it feel so real I flinched.”

The show had many terrible things happen to good people, but Rosalina was there to point out the “bullshit” that happened. “Gaslighting is NOT love,” Rosalina said, “Abuse is not love.”

The production was both hilarious and witty, while delivering relevant social commentary. Rosalina’s improv jokes hit well with the audience, and the funny Russian pastor (Omar Gadzhiev) was “bussing,” as the kids say. The end of the show was met with a long, loud standing ovation.

One joke in particular stood out to one man in the crowd. President Dave attended the first night of the production, and Jimenez was informed during the intermission. When Rosalina walked back onstage, she “professed” her love of “bald men.”

The show was a stunning masterpiece of creative talent, and a brilliant theatrical experience. Andy Vance successfully pulled together an incredible cast, each person with indescribable talent in acting, vocals and dance.

The concept grabs the audience by the hand and leads them through the powerful stories with spectacular dances and beautiful, emotionally charged music.

The costuming was perfect, demonstrated by the compelling switch between Violet’s “50’s housewife” dress to “modern girlboss” suit.

Each character feels lifelike, and they’re thoroughly thought out and well written. Rosalina, the narrator, keeps the viewers fresh with well-timed comedic relief in the midst of heartbreak and makes the individual stories of the oppressed women come alive.

Every song was an absolute banger, and Olive’s heartfelt “Dear Mom” is no exception, even if you’re crying with Olive.

“It’s A Woman’s World” was written and directed by Andy Vance as her senior project for her individualized performing arts administration major. The production aimed to “voice the stories of women that may not always be visible to the world” and Vance would like to thank her cast for sharing the hardships they have gone through, and for, as she puts it, “showcasing both the joys and the hardships that women have experienced through time.”

How did she feel after the first run of the show? Vance said she needed some McDonald’s.