SYNOPSIS & DEVELOPMENT
It’s 1943 in Jackson, Mississippi and the Sweethearts of Swing - the hottest all-girl swing band in the country - have lost their trumpet player minutes before a gig.
Without a paycheck they’ll be stranded and unable to continue their tour. Enter Rosie Cartwright, a talented young trumpet player eager to step in. There is just one catch: she’s white, they’re a “colored” band and this is the Jim Crow South.
Despite the risks, band leader Evelyn offers Rosie the job in order to keep the Sweethearts on the road. Rival trumpeter Velma vehemently objects, and cautions Rosie that learning to “pass” will not be as easy as she thinks. But Rosie jumps at this new-found chance to be a professional woman musician playing the red hot swing music her father taught her to love. Rosie refuses to heed the pleas of her widowed mother and her war-wounded fiance to come home, even as she begins to experience first-hand the danger she is in. A terrifying night in jail finally hits home that her very life is at stake, but Willy -- a black soldier and Sweethearts fan who risks his own life to get Rosie out of jail -- convinces her to stand up for the kind of world she wants to live in. Her new resolve is put to the ultimate test when a well-placed phone call leads to a vicious cop getting his hands on Rosie, and both she and the entire band have to decide once and for all how much they are willing to risk in order to play music together.
THE SWEETHEARTS OF SWING features a rousing original big band score peppered with hits of the day, performed on stage before our eyes by a cast of actor-instrumentalists. Inspired by true stories of interracial all-female swing bands and the real-life women who defied both law and convention in order to play together, SWEETHEARTS reminds us of music’s power to unite people across the deepest divides of race, class and culture.
SWEETHEARTS is proud to be collaborating with the Lark Play Development Center in New York to further develop the work.
SWEETHEARTS was presented by the Aurora Fox Arts Center in a staged reading in January 2014, directed by Angela Astle, for consideration for a future production. Stay tuned!
Previously, in July of 2013, SWEETHEARTS was presented to two full houses in an AEA 29-hour Staged Reading at the Triad Theater in New York. The reading was directed by Dodd Loomis and produced by Jeremy Halpern.
The next step for SWEETHEARTS is a small-scale workshop in Spring of 2016 with the full cast of actor-musicians. If you are interested in helping make that possible, please contact us by email, call (212) 504-3046, or visit our Fractured Atlas page.