Excerpts from Musical
about Fannie Lou Hamer
and Voting Rights
Available for Licensing in 2016
Selected music and dialogue from the acclaimed musical inspired by the life of voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer will be available for licensing beginning January 2016, according to the stage work’s author.
“Audience response to our performances has been so overwhelming that we wanted to acknowledge and address that positive reception, even as we continue to put elements in place for a hopeful Broadway run,” said composer/lyricist Felicia Hunter.
A concert presentation of the full-length original musical Fannie Lou, the popular “Scenes and Songs from Fannie Lou” has been performed before diverse audiences in venues as varied as a Connecticut community center; a Washington, DC, neighborhood theater; and New York City’s esteemed Carnegie Hall.
“While the musical itself is ready to go [to Broadway], the reality is that it just takes so much time to coordinate all those other elements needed for a successful Broadway production,” Felicia noted. “Yet, we consistently have enthusiastic crowds and sold-out performances – we had a huge waiting list for our DC production. So, instead of waiting for Broadway, we wanted to meet that demand now and make ‘Scenes and Songs from Fannie Lou’ available to community, college and university, and professional groups, really anybody and everybody who’d like to relay the story of Fannie Lou Hamer.”
A poor Mississippi sharecropper, Fannie Lou Hamer entered public life when she fought for the right to vote for herself and other African Americans during the 1960s. At one point she was jailed and beaten because of her voting-rights efforts. Her work, and relaying her experiences, helped pave the way for passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
After seeing “Scenes and Songs from Fannie Lou,” audience members have deemed it “amazing,” “moving,” "beautiful" and “powerful.”
“I really am so grateful to our audiences. They’ve shown such appreciation for not only Fannie Lou Hamer and what she did, but also for the work we’ve done in telling her story onstage,” said Felicia. “One of the things audience members consistently mention as a favorite aspect of Fannie Lou is the music. They really enjoy it. Several asked about how they could get a CD after seeing the production.”
The score is an eclectic mix of blues, jazz, soul, opera, spoken word and traditional musical theater original songs. While true and organic to the period – the setting for Fannie Lou is rural Mississippi in the early 1960’s – the music also “is able to reach beyond decades to connect with 21st-century audiences,” noted Felicia. “That’s what I think our audience members find so compelling about the music. It doesn’t try to refashion history aurally. Rather the music, which like the story of Fannie Lou Hamer was thoroughly researched, is framed with instrumentation and arrangements that you actually could have heard 50 years ago. Audiences are transported by it, yet they find the themes so universal that they’re also able to connect with the music on a contemporary level. That’s exciting.”
Although no cast CD has been recorded yet, Felicia and a few colleagues have gotten together to create a special song rendition.
Music from Fannie Lou score available to public for free
A demo version of “Forget Me Not,” one of the original songs from the Fannie Lou score, currently is available for free download via the Fannie Lou website.
“Forget Me Not” is the first in what will become a series of special-issue music from the Fannie Lou score offered free to the public. The series, dubbed INSIDE TRACKS, will highlight a different Fannie Lou song over several months, said Felicia. She said she expects at least three songs, perhaps more, will be made available via INSIDE TRACKS, free of charge.
“It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ to audiences and others who’ve offered such tremendous support so far on our Broadway-quest journey,” she said, adding that audience members have been “patiently waiting” to see Fannie Lou performed on Broadway.
“While a Broadway run hopefully is in our future, making some of the music available free to our enthusiastic supporters is something that can be done now,” said Felicia. “We don’t have to wait and see. We don’t have to succumb to somebody else’s time frame. We can do it now. So that’s why we’re making ‘Forget Me Not’ available, because we want to reciprocate directly in some way to our wonderful supporters, right now.”
Singers featured on the demo version of “Forget Me Not” include Michael Thomas, Annette Mooney Wasno and Sisi Wright, all members of the Washington, DC, “Scenes and Songs from Fannie Lou” cast. An MP3 of the song is available to the public for free download here. Other music and dialogue samples can be found on the website as well, along with more information about Fannie Lou and “Scenes and Songs from Fannie Lou.”
For information about licensing “Scenes and Songs from Fannie Lou,” please email firstname.lastname@example.org.