Move over, Hamilton. The spirit of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is taking the stage. Justice: A New Musical arrives at Marin Theatre Company (MTC) in February.
The new theatrical mashup of music and American history, which premiered in the home state of Ginsburg’s more conservative counterpart, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, this past spring, continues its world-premiere journey with a run at the MTC’s Mill Valley performance space from Feb. 16 to March 12, 2023.
The musical explores the bipartisan relationship between the late and liberal RBG and the Reagan-appointed Justice O’Connor, along with the landmark confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor as the Supreme Court’s first Latina justice. Written a year before Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, the production also presciently nods to Justice Jackson’s rise by following the nomination process of a fictional female African American Supreme Court nominee, Vera.
While at times divided by ideology, the musical’s female leads are united by their shared womanhood and experiences as "firsts” on the Supreme Court. Justice O’Connor was the first woman to sit on the court; Ginsburg was the first Jewish woman on the bench, followed by Sotomayor and Brown as barrier-breaking women of color. With the legal fallout of Roe v. Wade’s overturning, the production promises to be timely.
“Justice is my first experience writing a piece of theater that is daily impacted by the news,” said lyricist Kait Kerrigan in a press release. “It is such a challenge and thrill to musicalize our shared American history and speak to the moment we are living through. It feels vital to engage with the women whose seat on the bench forced our justice system to reckon with gender, inclusivity, race and equality.”
Justice, developed by Kerrigan, composer Bree Lowdermilk and Marin Theatre Company’s recent Mellon National Playwright-in-Residence Lauren M. Gunderson, might get a little bit more of the Hamilton treatment as well. Ashley Rodbro, who served as the resident director in San Francisco for the trailblazing Lin-Manuel Miranda musical on one of America’s lesser-known founding fathers, will direct Marin Theatre Company’s production of Justice. Lynda DiVito Hacohen will star as RBG, Karen Murphy as O’Connor and Stephanie Prentice as Sotomayor.
Christina Campodonico can be reached at email@example.com