Respect: A Musical Journey of Women

Halli’s Comment

Respect: we must have it, we’re entitled to it, we should demand it!!! Dr. Dorothy Marcic, a professor at Vanderbilt University created Respect, a musical based on her book, which was originally performed by Dr. Dorothy Productions, as a fund-raiser for the League of Women Voters in Nashville, in August of 2003. This was to commemorate Tennessee’s being the 36th and final state to ratify the 19th Amendment, on August 18, 1920.

Looking around the theatre I saw everyone smiling and you will too. This is one of the most uplifting and exhilarating shows I have ever been part of. That’s right, part of, because the minute these talented women start singing and dancing, everyone in the audience starts clapping along to the rhythms of the individual songs and even giving these extremely gifted women standing ovations before the show is over. Director Peter Loewy can be proud of his work staging this incredible production.

The musical journey of women, told through the top-40 songs of the past begins with “Someone to Watch Over Me” to “I Will Survive;” from the co-dependence of “I Will Follow Him” to the anger of “These boots are Made for Walking,” to the cynicism of “What’s Love Got to Do With it,” and finally to the strength of “Hero.”

By combining excerpts of 50 songs with stories about women finding lost love, dreams coming to fruition, all kinds of relationship issues, gaining independence through entering the work-force and so many more things that has lead to women not having to rely on or live through a man, you begin to see how far WE HAVE COME FROM NEEDINESS AND DEPENDENCY. At the beginning of the first half of the last century, songs like, “I’ll do Anything For You,” to “I’ll Stand by my Man,” were examples of women’s weaknesses. By the end of the century everything changed. Songs like “I am Woman-Hear me Roar,” to “I Will Survive,” encouraged all women to stand on their own and realize their dreams.

Respect stars Paulette Dozier, Janette Fitzpatrick and Emily Price. Dr. Dorothy narrates this spectacular production and is involved intermittently throughout the show, which has been performed all over the world in places like Melbourne Australia, Kansa City, Kansas, Orlando Florida and I predict, will be on Broadway in the very near future.

Dr. Dorothy Marcic spent five years in the researching and development of Respect. It started when she was asked to do a presentation in l999 at a Baha’i Social and Economic Development. One of the principles taught by Baha’illah is the equality of men and women. (“The world of humanity has two wings. One is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly.”) She was experimenting with music in her leadership programs and decided to add music to these presentations. As her research progressed she realized that popular music tells the whole story of women in the 20th century. Getting a book contract from an agent, helped start her new career in the one-woman show that has now evolved into the four-woman musical theatre production. She has taught Women in Management courses, conducted training programs in Career Strategies for Women and Leadership for Women. When she was in college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she took a number of courses in theatre, which helped her integrate the various disciplines she has worked with throughout her life. Your hair will literally stand on end at the conclusion of “I Will Survive” when people from the audience are invited to come on stage and sing and dance along with the performers. After four curtain calls, my hands hurt from applauding.

Respect will be at The Cuillo Centre for the Arts, 201 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach through September 12th.  Don’t forget to say, “Halli Sent Me.”