“…a sight to behold, enormously powerful.” – CVNC Arts Journal

“…poignant, accurate and thought-provoking.” – Peoples World

“…a tale of social justice, as real today as it was in the early 20th century.” – Charlotte Herald Citizen

“The most dangerous woman in america” comes back to life just when we need her most

Vivian Nesbitt and John Dillon break out from their roles as Art of the Song hosts and into the spotlight with Mother Jones In Heaven, a one-woman musical by songwriter and author Si Kahn. Vivian portrays the legendary labor organizer through story and song, and John accompanies on guitar.


Thirty performances – Thirty standing ovations. This play inspires audiences to take action.

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Vivian Nesbitt (Breaking Bad, The Night Shift, Longmire and more) portrays Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, with musical accompaniment by John Dillon, in Si Kahn’s one-woman musical about the infamous labor organizer famed for her tireless efforts on behalf of the rights of the working class. Leading the charge for better working conditions and fair pay for coal miners, mill workers and child laborers, Mother Jones was dubbed The Most Dangerous Woman in America by a West Virginia judge because, “At the crook of her little finger, she could get 8,000 men to walk out on strike.” Feared, revered and lauded in song and story, Mother Jones was “the grandmother of all agitators.” At a time when issues that unions stand for, like safe working conditions, fair pay and equal rights are under attack, the play stands as a reminder that the fight is far from over. 

The musical opens as Mother Jones arrives in Heaven to discover that it’s identical to her favorite Irish Pub in Hyattsville, MD. In the course of the 70-minute performance, Mother Jones looks back over her life, balancing the scales as she sifts through her storied past, weaving moments of profound insight with hilarious tales of a hellion in her prime. On the one side, her methods and practices, on the other, her reputation and results. Director Alice Jankell skillfully sets the pace for the compelling book and ten original songs by author, activist, songwriter Si Kahn.

‘the songs of mother jones in heaven’ CD DEBUTED AT #12 ON THE FOLK CHARTS. Click here to order!

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Vivian Nesbitt –  Actress

You’ve seen her on The Night Shift, Breaking Bad, Manhattan, In Plain Sight, The Messengers, Longmire, and more. Vivian’s first professional acting job was understudying on Broadway at Roundabout Theater. She has gone on to develop a considerable body of work including Off-Broadway’s United Solo Festival, Theatre Row, NYC where her original solo play The Bark & The Tree was awarded Best Documentary Play and Best Lighting Design, as well as regional theater and summer Shakespeare. Her short film Leverage was an official selection of Taos Shortz Film Festival and NMWIF Film Fiesta garnering her an award for Best Performance. She was invited to perform her original solo play The Bark & The Tree at the prestigious Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival in 2016. She holds an MFA in Acting and has continued her studies with luminaries such as Anna Deavere Smith and Alan Arkin. Vivian is also host and co-producer (with her husband John) of Art of the Song, heard on public radio nationwide.

Si Kahn – Author

Si Kahn is a folk, bluegrass and roots music legend, once described as “a rumor in his own time.” At almost 75 years old, he is at the peak of his powers as performer, songwriter and recording artist. His songs of family, community, love, work and freedom have been recorded and performed by hundreds of artists in North America and Europe.    

For 52 years, he’s worked professionally as a civil rights, labor and community organizer. He’s currently the lead organizer for Musicians United To Protect Bristol Bay, an international network of over 650 musicians and music lovers using their music and media access to help stop the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska. Si has sometimes described his music as “a hobby that got out of hand,” which indeed it has.

Si’s body of published work includes 16 CDs of his original songs, including six releases on the Dutch record label Strictly Country Records, plus albums on Rounder, Flying Fish, and the Swiss label Doubletime Music; a CD of original songs for children, Good Times and Bedtimes; a collection of traditional labor and civil rights songs recorded with Pete Seeger and Jane Sapp; and the songs and/or scripts for seven musicals.

He has toured with Pete Seeger, Andy Irvine, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer and John McCutcheon, and has shared concert and festival stages with such artists as Maria Dunn (Canada), Buffy St. Marie (Canada), Peggy Seeger (England), the Looping Brothers (Germany), The Kruger Brothers (Switzerland/U.S.), Dick Gaughan (Scotland), and U.S. artists the Fairfield Four, Hazel Dickens, Ani DiFranco and the original Red Clay Ramblers. Ironically, Si has never even attempted to earn a living as a musician.


An essential member of the team, Jo’s regional stage management credits can be found in the archives of Mill Mountain Playhouse, Trinity Repertory theater and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Jo also acts as Production Stage Manager for the touring production of Mother Jones In Heaven – a musical by Si Kahn, and The Bark & The Tree by Vivian Nesbitt. She completed her MFA  from the Professional Theater Training program at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Her acting credits are growing to include several productions in the Philadelphia area. She is an activist, writer and a photographer and studies acting at The Barrow Group. JustJoPhoto.com

John Dillon – Music Director, Guitarist

John is a singer-songwriter, performer, music activist and former guitar maker. In the 1970s, John spent a year traveling (by thumb and freight train) across the US and working with some legendary artists of the time. Eventually, he came to rest in Taos, New Mexico.

During his 25-year career as a guitar maker, John has built more than 80 custom instruments for musicians including Steve Earle, Tish Hinojosa, Trisha Yearwood, and The Mavericks. John plays his handmade guitars in the show.

In 2003, John and Viv launched Art of the Song, a one-hour, weekly public radio program now heard on over 100 stations across North America. The two have interviewed some of the biggest names in the industry like Roger Daltry (The Who), Smokey Robinson, Judy Collins, Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Joan Osborn, and Jorma Kaukonen (Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane), to name a few. The interviews focus on the universal truths common to all creative expression.

Now with their home-base in Saratoga Springs, NY, John and Vivian spend half of the year in their 32-foot Winnebago Cambria – The MoJo Motorhome – and are pleased to share Mother Jones in Heaven with audiences across North America and beyond!

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October 16                      7:30 pm Ten Pound Fiddle, Robin Theater, 1105 S Washington Ave, Lansing, MI  Tix: TenPoundFiddle.org

October 23                     7:30 pm Society Hall, 400 Ross Ave,  Alamosa, CO  Tix: SocietyHall.org

October 24                     7:00 pm Rio Grande Center for Spiritual Living benefit performance, Albuquerque, NM  Tix: BrownPaperTickets.com/event/4288327

October 25                     7:00 pm Unitarian Universalist Santa Fe, 107 W Barcelona, Santa Fe, NM Tix: BrownPaperTickets.com/event/4288359

October 26                    2:00 pm & 7:00 pm Unitarian Universalist Santa Fe, 107 W Barcelona, Santa Fe, NM  Tix: BrownPaperTickets.com/event/4288359

November 1                   7:30 pm Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave, Chicago, IL  Tix: BrownPaperTickets.com/event/4288359

November 3                   7:30 pm State Theater, State College, PA – Presented by Department of Labor and Employment Relations, Penn State University

January 11, 2020           Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music Club, Fair Lawn, NJ (Details TBA)

March 2, 2020                University of Western Oregon (details TBA)

May 2, 2020                    8:00 pm A Still Small Voice @ Sand Lake Center for the Arts, Sand Lake, NY


Jan 25 & 27, 2018          Asheville Fringe Arts Festival – Asheville, NC

March 10, 2018              The Arts Center @ 12 Main, Center Sandwich, NH

April 13, 2018                 Sol Acting Academy, 5500 San Mateo NE Albuquerque, NM

April 14, 2018                 Sol Acting Academy, 5500 San Mateo NE Albuquerque, NM

July 14, 2018                   Woody Guthrie Festival, Okemah, OK

July 20, 2018                  Metta Theater, Taos, NM

July 21, 2018                   Metta Theater, Taos, NM

July 22, 2018                  Metta Theater, Taos, NM

August 9, 2018              St. Lawrence Arts Center, Portland, ME

August 10, 2018             St. Lawrence Arts Center, Portland, ME

August 11, 2018              St. Lawrence Arts Center, Portland, ME

August 12, 2018             St. Lawrence Arts Center, Portland, ME

Sept 15, 2018                  Friends of The Modern School Annual Meeting – Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Sept 29, 2018                Round Lake Auditorium, Round Lake, NY

Oct 27, 2018                  Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM), Grand Rapids, MI

Nov 8 – 11, 2018             Northeast Regional Folk Alliance

Jan 10 -26, 2019           Warehouse Performing Arts Center, Cornelius, NC  (10 performances)

April 22, 2019               Michael Johnathon’s WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour, Lexington, KY

April 23, 2019               Si Kahn’s 75th Birthday Celebration – The Evening Muse, Charlotte, NC

April 26, 2019               MerleFest, Wilkesboro, NC – Mayes Pit

May 4, 2019                   Lafayette Park United Methodist Church, St. Louis, MO. Sponsored by the Friends of the Mother Jones Museum

May 5, 2019                    The Winery at Shale Lake, Williamson, IL (after Mother Jones Museum May Day Celebrations in Mt. Olive, IL). Sponsored by the Friends of the Mother Jones Museum

May 16, 2019                   Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, NY. Sponsored by American Labor Studies Center.

August 7, 2019               Maine AFL-CIO Summer Retreat, Orono, ME

October 2, 2019              Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY

October 4, 2019              Old Labor Hall, Barre, VT

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Thank you for visiting Mother Jones in Heaven ~ we look forward to hearing from you.

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