Photo Feature: Behind the Scenes at ’19 the Musical’

In honor of last week’s Women’s March, DC Metro Theater Arts sat in on a workshop performance of 19, a musical in development highlighting the fight to pass the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

Co-Writers Jennifer Schwed and Doug Bradshaw were inspired to write 19: The Musical during the 2016 election with the goal of reminding audiences how much work it took to get women the rights we have today. The musical focuses on the actions of Suffragists Alice Paul, Ida B. Wells, Lucy Burns and Carrie Chapman Catt – women who rarely appear in history books despite their profound impact on United States history.

19: The Musical is being workshopped around the region with the goal of a fully-staged production to coincide with the 2020 centennial of the passing of the 19th Amendment.

All photos by Anu Dev.

Meredith Eib on playing Suffragist Lucy Barnes:
“I think they cast us in roles that fit us in real life,” says Meredith Eib about playing Suffragist Lucy Burns. “I didn’t know much about these characters beforehand but it turns out I have a lot in common with Lucy Burns.” (L-R: Elizabeth Keith, Meredith Eib, Millicent Scarlett) Photo by Anu Dev.
Composer Charlie Barnett discusses the performance with cast members Debora Crabbe and CinCin Fang.
Composer Charlie Barnett discusses the performance with cast members Debora Crabbe and CinCin Fang. “As a male composer writing songs for women, I constantly have to check in. ‘Would you say this? Does this work?’ ” Photo by Anu Dev.
Karen Bralove likes to say that her claim to fame is that she was co-writer Doug Bradshaw's acting teacher at Sidwell Friends Middle School.
“Perhaps because I am the oldest here, I knew of Alice Paul,” says cast member Karen Bralove. “I didn’t know the specifics, or that Alice Paul was the mastermind behind the 1913 March on Washington, but I had at least heard of her, which I don’t think is the case for most women.” Photo by Anu Dev.
Mria Ciarrocchi and Katie Ganem play Suffragists Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul.
Maria Ciarrocchi and Katie Ganem play Suffragists Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul. “To get the word “male” in effect out of the Constitution cost the women of the country fifty-two years of pauseless campaign” Catt reminds women. Photo by Anu Dev.
“The women at the center of this show are women who have been ignored by history. It’s refreshing to be able to create a role that is a real eye-opener in a lot of ways,” says Brian Lyons-Burke who plays President Woodrow Wilson. Photo by Anu Dev.
I was looking for a female composer so I posted to the women in film and video Facebook group. The very first response I got was from Charlie saying 'I think I'm your man!' And he was right. (L-R: Composer Charlie Barnett and Co-Writer Jennifer Schwed)
“I was looking for a female composer so I posted to a women-in-film-and-video group,” says Co-Writer Jennifer Schwed. “The very first response I got was from Charlie saying ‘I think I’m your man!’ And he was right.”  (L-R: Composer Charlie Barnett and Co-Writer Jennifer Schwed) Photo by Anu Dev.
“Looking at history books, it’s like these women ‘were vanished’ intentionally from history. My opinion is that over the years, most history books have been written by men and letting people know that strong women can get things done was very threatening to them.” (L-R: Co-Writer Doug Bradshaw and Composer Charlie Barnett) Photo by Anu Dev.
“We’ve still got a lot of work left to do in the fight for equality,” says activist and Women’s March Co-Chair Bob Bland. Bland introduced the performance. Photo by Anu Dev.
“This show focuses on the wave of feminists who fought to get women the right to vote,” says Co-Writer Jennifer Schwed. “They were young women who had the tenacity not to give up and they used their voices to change the entire country. I hope people come out of this show feeling that same empowerment and inspiration.” Photo by Anu Dev.
“It is an honor to play Ida B. Wells,” says actress Millicent Scarlett. “She has allowed me to learn a lot about myself, and that we are not so different in a lot of ways. I never knew about her struggles and the strength that led her to fight for justice and equality. She was indeed a force to be reckoned with, and I like that” (L-R: Millicent Scarlett and Michael Keith). Photo by Anu Dev.
“These women vanished from history. They are barely in any textbooks. Doug and I are entertainers and not historians, but it feels like a mission to tell this story. Your daughters should know what came before them and the fact that the information is so hard to find is a tragedy. People don’t know these stories.” Co-Writer Jennifer Schwed. Photo by Anu Dev.

Narrator: Elizabeth Keith
Alice Paul: Katie Ganem
Carrie Chapman Catt: Meredith Eib (January 11)/Maria Ciarrocchi (January 12)
Ida B. Wells: Millicent Scarlett
Lucy Burns: Meredith Eib
Sue B: Debora Crabbe
Christabel Pankhurst: Elizabeth Keith
Emmeline Pankhurst: Millicent Scarlett
President Woodrow Wilson: Brian Lyons-Burke
Harry Burn: Michael Keith
Chorus & Dancers: Karen Bralove, Kristen Briscoe, Bethel Elias, Cincin Fang, Haylee Green, Danielle Marquis

Production Team 
Jennifer Schwed: Writer/Lyricist/Director/Producer
Doug Bradshaw: Writer/Lyricist/Director/Producer
Charlie Barnett: Composer/MusicalDirector/Arranger/ Piano/Producer
Vocal Captain: Millicent Scarlett
Choreography: Danielle Marquis, Angela Norris
Dance Captain: Kristen Briscoe

Past Is Prologue in New Musical about Suffragists by Nicole Hertvik
Magic Time! ’19: The Musical’ by John Stoltenberg
Review: ’19: The Musical’ by William Powell

For more information on 19: The Musical, visit the website.

Previous article‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre
Next articleReview: ‘Peter Pan’ by Vienna Theatre Company
Nicole Hertvik
A reformed child actor, Nicole got her BA in English literature before wandering the globe for a decade, writing and teaching English in Prague, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, and Paris. She eventually landed in NYC where she received a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and dabbled in theater as an actor, script reader, and dramaturg. Thrilled by the strong and diverse theater community she discovered in Washington, DC, Nicole wakes up every morning excited to contribute to DC Metro Theater Arts and other publications. Nicole studied journalism at Georgetown University and was a 2019 fellow at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Critics Institute. Email:, Instagram: @nicolehertvik, Twitter: @nicolehertvik, Facebook: Nicole Hertvik.