Skyler Drinnon/Journalism Intern
‘Native Women’ is follow up to previous successful musical
ST. PAUL, Minnesota — Natives and acting are two things that do not always coincide with one another. The stereotypical persona with Natives and theatrical plays or movies are the Native American with headdresses, peace pipes and teepees.
In an interview with ‘Mvskoke Radio,’ Rhaina Yazzie discussed how she is trying to change the standard image of Indians and acting with the development of her new musical, ‘Native Women The Musical.’
“It’s not your Rodgers and Hammerstein kind of play,” Yazzie said.
‘Native Woman’ was produced by Yazzie’s company, New Native Theatre.
The musical celebrates Native women and tells their individual stories through skits, musicals and interviews.
‘Native Women’ is the follow up to Yazzie’s previous success, ‘Native Man The Musical,’ a celebration of Native men and stories from their own personal lifes.
‘Native Man’ was the seventh best selling show at the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival by percentage out of a total of 169 other productions.
The musicals are meant to take a comedic, while remaining serious, approach. ‘Native Women’ will include interviews and stories that discuss some of the stereotypes and events in the lives of Native women that have to do with their heritage.
“There are some really tough stories some of the folks are telling,” Yazzie said.
One of the interviews and speakers during the musical is Margarita Ortega, a Native woman in Minnesota who is running for state representative.
Ortega will speak on how being Native has affected her candidacy.
Another one of the stories being told is of a native from Little Earth United Tribes, a concentrated housing development, who remembers Natives break dancing in a nearby park in 1984. The skit is set to include a local dance corps that will be performing alongside the speaker.
Yazzie has received many comments from audience members about how they were impacted by the musicals.
A predominantly Native audience can laugh off the stereotypes while still getting the message across that Natives are not down in the dumps and they are active in the community. Yazzie laughs at the fact that many non-Natives comment that they are surprised the musical does not discuss anything other than Natives.
Yazzie wants to see her company expand and take the musicals and her other developments into a nationwide tour.
“I love doing what I’m doing,” Yazzie said.
‘Native Women The Musical’ will be from May 9 – 13 in St. Paul, Minnesota at Park Square Theatre.
For more information regarding the musical or tour, email: email@example.com or call: 612-367-7639.