New Mexico native Kat is a composer, author, and pianist-conductor. Her book EXPERIENCING BROADWAY MUSIC: A LISTENER’S COMPANION (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) guides the reader through theater music from the ZIEGFELD FOLLIES through HAMILTON. Sherrell is the composer-lyricist for new WWII-era feminist musical SWEETHEARTS OF SWING. Previous collaborations with Nat included arrangements and original music for feminist cabarets and a children’s introduction to the Great American Songbook, NAT & KAT’S ADVENTURES WITH THE TIME-TRAVELING PIANO. In 2018, Sherrell’s settings of Caridad Svich’s lyrics will appear in a production of Svich’s play 12 OPHELIAS (A PLAY WITH BROKEN SONGS) as part of the Seattle Shakespeare Festival.
As a pianist, music director, and conductor, Sherrell has worked on Broadway shows IN THE HEIGHTS, BRING IT ON, and THE BOOK OF MORMON, and NBC’s SMASH. Her three-season tenure as Associate Music Supervisor at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre included conducting THE SOUND OF MUSIC, A CHRISTMAS STORY, CAROUSEL, and PAINT YOUR WAGON, as well as work on many other productions, new works, and outreach projects. She is currently the Music Associate (assistant conductor) for the second national tour of HAMILTON.
The Sweethearts of Swing is a work of historical fiction, inspired by true stories of interracial all-female swing bands of the 1940s and the white women who "passed" as black in order to play with them. Though all of the characters are completely fictional, many of the play's events are drawn from the actual experiences of women who played in bands such as the Darlings of Rhythm, the All-Star Girl Orchestra, and the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.
The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, one of the bands who inspired this piece, performs their signature hit “JUMP CHILDREN”.
Roz Cron (center), the first white member of The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, tells a story of being taken in by a black family while on tour in the South.
An article with an overview of the history of The International Sweethearts of Rhythm.
An opera singer in a former life, NAT now enjoys creating works for others to perform. Her horror play THE TAMING OF CATS received glowing reviews as a Resident Artist Production at The Brick Theater in NYC in 2016. Other full-length works include THE INNKEEPER and BREAKING PAIRS, both of which have had staged readings in NYC. Natalie has four short works published by Indie Theater Now, and numerous short plays have been produced across the country and in Montreal. Nat combines her music background with her playwriting as half of the musical writing duo Nat & Kat, including SWEETHEARTS OF SWING. Natalie is the co-founder of Lather Rinse Repeat: A Playwrights’ Collective, and is also on faculty at Circle in the Square Theater School and Molloy College, where she teaches voice and sight-singing to up-and-coming Broadway performers.
Natalie Wilson, Book-Writer
Kat Sherrell, Composer-lyricist
1943: One ambitious bandleader, one girl running from home, and another with nothing to run to come together in a “colored” all-female swing band touring the Jim Crow South. In defying both law and convention by crossing the color line to play the music they love, these women set off a chain of events that has life-altering consequences. Inspired by true stories of all-female big bands from the era and featuring 12 female musician/actors who perform the original big band score onstage, SWEETHEARTS OF SWING is the first show to bring to the world of Broadway this little known piece of history. By exploring the intersection of race, gender and privilege, SWEETHEARTS reminds us of music’s power to bridge even the deepest divides between us.