On The Scene: SUFFS Marches To Broadway First Preview

On The Scene

The company of Suffs on First Preview | Photo: Jenny Anderson

Kobi Kassal
No items found.
April 1, 2024 10:40 AM

It’s a good time of year when you have trouble walking down 45th Street now that a slew of new shows are once again filling the block! Moving into the lovely Music Box Theatre, one of my favorite houses on Broadway, Suffs is now officially in performances and Theatrely was on the scene at its first preview to get all the inside scoop on the new musical. 

This past Tuesday evening, Shaina Taub made a stunning quadruple Broadway debut not only starring as Alice Paul, but also for writing the book, music, and lyrics. Taub is now only the second woman in history to write the music, lyrics, book, and star in her own musical. Directed by Leigh Silverman, Suffs follows an impassioned group of trailblazers in the years leading up to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 and the dedication and hardship it took this group of suffragists - or Suffs - to win the right to vote. 

Walking into the Music Box last week, I was greeted by a sea of purple sashes all claiming “I Was Here” to celebrate their first public performance - an incredibly fun touch. Many producers and production staff wore white, a symbol of the suffragists movement. The audience for the first preview was rapturous, preventing Jenn Colella from beginning her first song due to the applause.

The audience of Suffs | Photo: Jenny Anderson

Besides Taub, the company of Suffs includes Nikki M. James as Ida B. Wells, Jenn Colella as Carrie Chapman Catt, Grace McLean as President Woodrow Wilson, Hannah Cruz as Inez Milholland, Kim Blanck as Ruza Wenclawska, Anastacia McCleskey as Mary Church Terrell, Ally Bonino as Lucy Burns, Tsilala Brock as Dudley Malone, Nadia Dandashi as Doris Stevens, and Emily Skinner as Alva Belmont/Phoebe Burn. Rounding out the company are Hawley Gould as the Alternate for Alice Paul, Jaygee Macapugay as Mollie Hay, and Laila Drew as Phyllis Terrell/Robin. The ensemble features Dana Costello, Jenna Bainbridge, Monica Tulia Ramirez, Ada Westfall, Christine Heesun Hwang, Chessa Metz, Kirsten Scott, Housso Semon, and D'Kaylah Unique Whitley.

Following curtain call, Leigh Silverman invited all of those making their Broadway debuts to step forward and take one final bow. Jenna Bainbridge, Kim Blanck, Ally Bonino, Tsilala Brock, Hannah Cruz, Nadia Dandashi, Laila Drew, Taub, Monica Tulia Ramirez, as well as swings Christine Heesun Hwang and Chessa Metz are all making their debuts with Suffs

The production transfers to the Main Stem after a sold-out run at the Public Theater during the spring of 2022. Now with choreographer Mayte Natalio at the helm of movement. The creative team also includes Riccardo Hernández for scenic design, Paul Tazewell for costume design, Lap Chi Chu for lighting design, Jason Crystal for sound design, Charles G. LaPointe for hair and wig design, and Joe Dulude II for make-up design. 

Continuing on with the trend of starry co-producers this season, Hillary Clinton and Malala Yousafzai have joined the team. Suffs is a fascinating tale and you can’t go wrong with a Shaina Taub score. For now, the company of Suffs will keep on marching throughout previews eight times a week before arriving at Opening Night on April 18. Head on down to the Music Box and go blaze a trail, trust me you won’t regret it. 

No items found.
Kobi Kassal

Hailing from sunny South Florida, Kobi Kassal founded Theatrely (formerly Theatre Talk Boston) while attending Boston University. He is an avid theatre attender and can be found seeing a performance most nights of the week (in normal times!) He is interested in the cross section of theatre, popular culture, hospitality, and politics. He also loves a good bagel!