'Mother Jones in Heaven' musical will air Nov. 3 at the State Theatre

October 31, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Centering on the life of Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, "Mother Jones in Heaven" combines storytelling with musical theater to bring Jones' incredible story to audiences nationwide in this one-woman performance, 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, at the State Theatre in downtown State College.

The performance is sponsored by Penn State's School of Labor and Employment Relations in the College of the Liberal Arts.

Jones was a fiery labor organizer in the late 1800s and early 1900s who fought tirelessly for the rights of the working class, advocated for fair wages and better working conditions while protesting against child labor. Her messages surrounding social justice and equal rights are as relevant today as they were more than 100 years ago. 

The show opens as Mother Jones, portrayed by Vivian Nesbitt, enters heaven. Over the course of the 80-minute performance, Mother Jones looks back over the events of her life sifting through her storied past, balancing the scales. On one hand, her methods and practices, on the other, her reputation and results. Moments of profound insight are woven with hilarious tales of a hellion in her prime through original songs performed by Nesbitt’s husband, John Dillon. A Q&A will follow the performance.

"Mother Jones in Heaven" is currently on tour nationwide, reminding audiences of the power people have when taking action together for the betterment of others.

The musical is written by State College native Si Kahn, who has worked for more than 50 years as a professional civil rights, labor and community organizer and musician, touring and recording with artists such as Pete Seeger. 

“Anyone with even an inkling of interest in the history of the American labor movement, or just American history, should see 'Mother Jones In Heaven,'" wrote Doug Born, president, Southern Maine Labor Council, and treasurer, Maine Chapter AFL-CIO. "Vivian Nesbitt’s dramatic embodiment of 'Mother' Jones had me transfixed from start to finish. The musical interludes only heighten the dramatic quality of the play. A thoroughly enjoyable experience.”

For more information and tickets, visit the State Theatre’s website.

Last Updated November 07, 2019