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.