Piedmont Opera - Here’s to the Ladies!

Saturday, August 31, 3:00 p.m.
Calvary Moravian
$27 General Admission/$10 Ages 6-18


Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe… These names are all well known to us.  But where are the names of the women who have written for the Broadway stage? Piedmont Opera takes a look at Broadway’s Herstory and the contributions of women composers and lyricists.

James Allbritten, director

Featured Composers

Miss Cecilia “Cissie” Loftus

Cecilia Loftus (born Marie Cecilia Loftus Brown; 22 October 1876 – 12 July 1943) was a Scottish actress, singer, mimic, vaudevillian, and music hall performer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

She had a successful career both in burlesque, as an accomplished mimic, and on Broadway. Some of the productions she appeared in are The Man of Forty (1900), If I Were King (1901) by her husband Justin Huntly McCarthy, Hamlet (1903) with E.H. Sothern, the Victor Herbert operetta Dream City (1906), Venus (1927) with Tyrone Power, Sr., Three-Cornered Moon (1933) with Ruth Gordon, Clare Boothe Luce’s Abide With Me (1935), and Little Dark Horse (1941). As Cissie Loftus, she wrote lyrics and music for songs in a number of productions, including The Belle of Bridgeport (1900) and The Lancers (1907).


Miss Claire Kummer

Clare Kummer (January 9, 1873 — April 21, 1958) was an American composer, lyricist, and playwright. Kummer was born Clare Rodman Beecher in Brooklyn, New York, the granddaughter of Rev. Edward Beecher and great-granddaughter of Lyman Beecher. Her great-uncle was Henry Ward Beecher, and her great-aunt was Harriet Beecher Stowe, among other notable members of their family. 

Kummer wrote songs for musicals in New York beginning in 1903 such as in Sergeant Blue (1905) and A Knight For a Day (1908), before she started writing whole shows, usually musical comedies. Kummer wrote over 20 shows between 1906 and 1945

She is credited on at least eight films and three television programs, usually the adaptations of her stage shows (including two screen adaptations of Good Gracious, Annabelle, silent in 1919, and sound, as Annabelle’s Affairs, in 1931). She also wrote several books, including Bible Rimes for the Not Too Young (1910).


Kay Swift

Katharine Faulkner “Kay” Swift (April 19, 1897 – January 28, 1993) was an American composer of popular and classical music, the first woman to score a hit musical completely. Written in 1930, the Broadway musical Fine and Dandy includes some of her best known songs; the song “Fine and Dandy” has become a jazz standard. “Can’t We Be Friends?” (1929) was her biggest hit song. Swift also arranged some of the music of George Gershwin posthumously, such as the prelude “Sleepless Night” (1946).


Mary Rodgers

Mary Rodgers (January 11, 1931 – June 26, 2014) was an American composer, screenwriter, and author. Her father was the renowned Broadway composer Richard Rodgers. She wrote the novel Freaky Friday, which served as the basis of a 1976 film starring Jodie Foster, for which she wrote the screenplay, as well as three other versions. Her best-known musicals were Once Upon a Mattress and The Mad Show, and she contributed songs to Marlo Thomas’ successful children’s album Free to Be… You and Me.


Micki Grant

Micki Grant (born Minnie Louise Perkins, June 30, 1929 – August 22, 2021) was an American singer (soprano), actress, writer, and composer. She performed in Having Our Say (as Sadie Delaney), Tambourines to Glory and Jericho-Jim Crow both co-written by Langston Hughes, The Gingham Dog, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, and received three Tony Award nominations for her writing.


Jeanine Tesori

Jeanine Tesori, known earlier in her career as Jeanine Levenson (born November 10, 1961) is the most prolific and honored female theatrical composer in history, with five Broadway musicals and six Tony Award nominations. She was named a Pulitzer Prize for Drama finalist twice for Fun Home and Soft Power. Her major works include Kimberly Akimbo; Fun Home; Caroline, or Change; Shrek The Musical; Thoroughly Modern Millie; and Violet.


Source: Wikipedia