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After a very successful run at the Midtown International Theater Festival,
Sistas is now playing at St. Luke's Theater - The Home of off-Broadway Hits
308 W. 46th Street • NY, NY

Saturdays 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 4:30 p.m.


Student tickets for selected performances are available for purchase online
in advance for members of TIX4STUDENTS

FOR 1-9 TICKETS, CALL 212-239-6200 or CLICK HERE


The new off-Broadway musical Sistas is a nonstop celebration, and jumped at the chance to chat with this show's talented company. Produced by three-time Tony winner Hinton Battle and directed by Smash's Kenneth Ferrone, the production follows five women as they prepare to bury the matriarch of their family. The women discuss their family history and the history of African-American women through popular music spanning from Billie Holiday to Beyonce. We headed to St. Luke's Theatre to talk with stars April Nixon, Jennifer Fouche, Tracey Conyer Lee, Amy Goldberger and Lexi Rhoades about this unique musical. Click below for a sneak peek of the show that has audiences singing, shouting and dancing in the aisles, then head off-Broadway to experience Sistas for yourself!


Radio Interview

Hinton Battle


February 15, 2018

Original Article

The cast of New York’s longest running African-American musical reveals why songs by Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, and more propel them in SISTAS: The Musical.

Music and memory are undeniably linked. In fact, the non-profit organization aptly named Music and Memory helps to develop music programs and provide resources for those with cognitive impairments to listen to the music of their time to unlock their pasts and rediscover themselves.

In SISTAS: THE MUSICAL, five sisters gather to clean out the attic of their childhood home after the death of their mother. As they rummage through the boxes, their nostalgia for their personal history sweeps in. Writer Dorothy Marcic weaves in popular music from Ma Rainey to Billie Holiday to Mary J. Blige and Beyoncé to tell the story of this family and the evolution of African-American women. The show, now in its seventh year at Off-Broadway’s St. Luke’s Theatre, is the longest-running African-American musical in New York. The production opened October 23, 2011 in a production directed by Kenneth Ferrone and choreographed by Lauren Lim-Jackson, with lighting design by Kia Rogers, sound design by Carl Casella, and costume design by Tricia Barsamian.

In honor of Black History Month, we asked the cast of SISTAS to choose the song from the show that rings true to their personal history and why that track has earned its place in this musical trip down memory lane.

Tyla Collier, TamikaTYLA COLLIER, Tamika
Joined the show: August 5, 2017
“One of the most important moments in the show for Tamika is when she sings Whitney Houston’s ‘I Have Nothing.’ Up to this point, we see her as funny, spunky and resilient—but this moment marks a shift in her. Her walls are momentarily broken down, and she is courageously vulnerable. As the actor playing Tamika, I also feel completely exposed in this moment. As people, we are so conditioned to believe that strength means being ‘tough.’ I think we often forget that there is strength in vulnerability. When I sing this song, I am reminded of the strength, courage and willingness it takes to be vulnerable. When I begin the first verse and hear sounds of recognition from the audience, I feel incredibly honored to sing this iconic song each week.”

Aneesa Folds, GloriaANEESA FOLDS, Gloria
Joined the show: August 5, 2017
‘You Gotta Be‘ by Des’ree. My earliest memory of this song is getting ready for school and scream-singing it around my house with my mom and my older sister. For me, there’s always been positive energy attached to this song. Every time I hear it I go back to that place, so it’s only fitting it’s one of the last songs of the show. The words in this song are so empowering. They remind the characters on stage that we have to trust in ourselves and our family in order to carry on with this loss. ‘We gotta stick together.’ We sing the lyrics ‘love will save the day’ over and over. Those are some very powerful words and often our audiences will leave the theatre singing them. In the world of today it’s so important to remember. Love can and will save the day. No matter what I’m going through in my personal life, when it gets to this part of the show I listen to myself singing these lyrics and it makes me feel so peaceful. I’m back in my childhood home with the people I love most and I can only hope the audience is on that journey with me.”

Kendra Lynn Lucas, SimoneKENDRA LYNN LUCAS, Simone
Joined the show: November 11, 2017
“I grew up listening to my grandmother Hazel sing ‘Oh Happy Day’ constantly. Let’s just say she wasn’t exactly given the gift of song, so it was always entertaining. Everyone knew she loved this song. Even as a child I remember her saying, ‘I want you to sing this at my funeral.’ It was a sad time when she did pass away, but I knew immediately I needed to sing this at her services. Having an entire congregation sing along with me in honor of my grandmother was an amazing homegoing celebration for her and now having this song as part of SISTAS is such a beautiful reminder of the time spent with my grandmother and the life lessons she taught me that I hold close to my heart.”

Haley Swindal, HeatherHALEY SWINDAL, Heather
oined the show: November 12, 2016
“I’m so grateful to Dorothy Marcic for writing Heather into the show and to my castmates for giving me the incredible honor of working with them every night. I feel there is so much I have learned and my perspective and understanding has grown so much by being a part of this show. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but one of my most favorites is when everyone comes together at the end to sing ‘We Are Family’ at Grandma Alice's memorial. Despite the fact that we all have different perspectives and journeys, we come together because at the end of the day we truly love each other. We sing as a unit to honor the matriarch of our family by singing about being together. It's a beautiful moment, really, we are this family because of Grandma Alice and the other incredible people in the family that came before us. I spend a lot of the show trying to understand the journeys of my sisters-in-law and trying to get Roberta to see me as a part of the family. By the end, we are all bonded together in this moment and it is really beautiful.”

Nesha Ward, RobertaNESHA WARD, Roberta
Joined the show: November 15, 2014
“There are so many places that I love to go with Roberta in this show. One of my favorite song moments is when the group sings ‘Just Fine’ by Mary J Blige. That song is about taking back your strength and identity and is a mantra I say to myself every day. The ladies start by singing to Roberta after the intense journey she has gone through during that day. They are telling her, as she is telling herself, that it will all be Just Fine. It’s the blur moment I take for myself along with my character ’cause one can never have too many people giving you that advice.”


Channel 4 NYC

Sistas Behind The Scenes - Channel 4

February 13, 2018
New York LIVE - Channel 4 New York. Jacque gets a behind the scenes look at the longest running African-American musical in NYC from cast members Haley Swindal and Nesha Ward.

Broadway World

Feb. 12, 2018

NY's Longest-Running African American Musical In NY History to Appear On Channel 4's 'New York Live' Tomorrow (Feb. 13, 2018)

by BWW News Desk

Sistas the MusicalThe longest-running African American musical in New York history, SISTAS: THE MUSICAL, will be the main segment on WNBC's "New York Live" tomorrow(Tuesday) at 11:30 am. The co-host of Channel 4's highly popular lifestyle show, Jacque Reid, pretaped an interview at the theatre with two of the stars of SISTAS, Haley Swindal and Nesha Ward. Produced by three-time Tony winner Hinton Battle and directed by Kenneth Ferrone("Smash," "Grease Live!"), SISTAS: THE MUSICAL opened Off-Broadway October 23, 2011. The show was released on DVD and digital download (iTunes, Netflix) by RLJ Worldwide/One Village Entertainment in 2013, and has been nationally broadcast on the BET Network.

SISTAS: THE MUSICAL, by Dorothy Marcic, follows a group of sisters as they prepare to bury the matriarch of their family. While cleaning out her attic, the five women reflect on the history of their family and of African-American women through popular music spanning from Ma Rainey to Billie Holiday to Mary J. Blige to Beyoncé. This joyous, soulful and screamingly funny show celebrates the evolution of African American women through popular music including "Oh Happy Day," "Mama Said," "I Will Survive," "Tyrone," "I Am Not My Hair," and "A Woman's Worth."

Featured in the cast are Tyla Collier (SPAMALOT and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Paper Mill), Aneesa Folds (THIS ONE'S FOR THE GIRLS, RAGTIME), Kendra Lynn Lucas(HAIRSPRAY, GODSPELL), Haley Swindal (Broadway's JEKYLL & HYDE, THE SECRET GARDEN at Lincoln Center), and Nesha Ward ("Orange is the New Black," "Show Me a Hero"), with choreography by Lauren Lim Jackson and musical direction by Zachary Ryan.

Writer Dorothy Marcic also created the hit musical SISTAS, the longest-running African American musical in New York history, now in its seventh smash year. Her first musical RESPECT (the genesis for THIS ONE'S FOR THE GIRLS) played in over 70 U.S. cities. Dr. Marcic is a professor at Columbia University, a former Fulbright Scholar and author of 15 books including MANAGING WITH THE WISDOM OF LOVE, RESPECT: WOMEN AND POPULAR MUSIC, LOVE LIFT ME HIGHER, and the upcoming true-life thriller WITH ONE SHOT.

Now in its seventh smash year, SISTAS: THE MUSICAL is produced Off-Broadway by Hinton Battle, Jay Harris and William Franzblau. Performances are Saturdays and Sundays at 4:30 pm at St. Luke's Theatre, 308 West 46 Street (just west of Eighth Ave.) and tickets are available through 212-239-6200.



Broadway World

Jan. 10, 2018

NY's Longest-Running African American Musical Celebrates Seventh Smash Year

by BWW News Desk

With the arrival of 2018, the long-running smash SISTAS: THE MUSICAL had its seventh New Year's celebration at St. Luke's Theatre in the heart of the Theatre District. Produced by three-time Tony winner Hinton Battle and directed by Kenneth Ferrone ("Smash," "Grease Live!"), SISTAS: THE MUSICAL opened Off-Broadway October 23, 2011. The show was released on DVD and digital download (iTunes, Netflix) by RLJ Worldwide/One Village Entertainment in 2013, and has been nationally broadcast on the BET Network. The production is now the longest-running African American musical in New York history.

SISTAS: THE MUSICAL, by Dorothy Marcic, follows a group of sisters as they prepare to bury the matriarch of their family. While cleaning out her attic, the five women reflect on the history of their family and of African-American women through popular music spanning from Ma Rainey to Billie Holiday to Mary J. Blige toBeyoncé. This joyous, soulful and screamingly funny show celebrates the evolution of African American women through popular music including "Oh Happy Day," "Mama Said," "I Will Survive," "Tyrone," "I Am Not My Hair," and "A Woman's Worth."

Featured in the cast are Tyla Collier (Spamalot and Little Shop of Horrors at Paper Mill), Aneesa Folds (This One's for the Girls, Ragtime), Kendra Lynn Lucas(Hairspray, Godspell), Haley Swindal (Broadway's Jekyll & Hyde, The Secret Garden at Lincoln Center), and Nesha Ward ("Orange is the New Black," "Show Me a Hero"), with choreography by Lauren Lim Jackson and musical direction by Zachary Ryan.

Writer Dorothy Marcic also created the current hit musical This One's for the Girls. Her first musical Respect (the genesis for This One's for the Girls) played in over 70 U.S. cities. Dr. Marcic is a professor at Columbia University, a former Fulbright Scholar and author of 14 books including Managing with the Wisdom of Love, Respect: Women and Popular Music and, most recently, Love Lift Me Higher.

SISTAS: THE MUSICAL is produced Off-Broadway by Hinton Battle, Jay Harris and William Franzblau. Performances are Saturdays and Sundays at 4:30 pm at St. Luke's Theatre, 308 West 46 Street (just west of Eighth Ave.) and tickets are available through 212-239-6200.



February 24, 2017

'Sistas' makes powerful musical debut

By Amy Stumpfl, Tennessean, Theater review

Sistas in Nashville
Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva, left, as Roberta, Lisa Graham as Gloria, Sarina-Joi Crowe as Tamika
and Aleta Myles as Simone in Tennessee Women's Theater Project's production of "Sistas: The Musical."
(Photo: Eric Ventress Photography)

There’s no question that music can heal the heart. But it also offers a unique way to explore social change. And that’s certainly the case with Tennessee Women’s Theater Project’s delightful production of “Sistas: The Musical.”

Penned by former Vanderbilt University professor Dorothy Marcic, this uplifting story centers on a group of African-American women brought together by the passing of their family’s matriarch. As they sort through her belongings in search of inspiration for a meaningful memorial service, they share the memories and music that have shaped their lives, from Bessie Smith to Beyoncé.

As with any jukebox musical, the story is loosely constructed to showcase the music, with characters existing primarily as archetypes. But Marcic’s script goes deeper than most, effectively drawing attention to changing mores and attitudes among black women and throughout American society.

But let’s face it, we’re here for the music. And on that note, this capable cast more than delivers — from traditional gospel and blues to Motown and modern hip-hop.

Nashville stage veteran Aleta Myles makes her first appearance at TWTP as Simone, a hard-working single mom and classic overachiever. Myles has a lovely presence onstage, offering a tender rendition of “Stormy Weather.” But it’s her sassy delivery of “I Will Survive” that is most fun.

Young Sarina-Joi Crowe shines as Tamika, Simone’s daughter, who often finds herself on the receiving end of her aunties’ well-intended advice. Crowe, who was a Top 12 finalist on Season 14 of “American Idol,” definitely has style, making fine work of songs like “Respect,” “I Have Nothing” and “Tyrone.”

Lisa Graham shows off her beautiful soprano as Gloria, a woman of strong opinions and stronger faith. Graham kicks off the evening with a rousing “Oh Happy Day.” But she knows how to cut loose, too. And together with the company, she makes “Single Ladies” one of the evening’s highlights.

Brittany Nelson also succeeds as Heather, the women’s white sister-in-law. Her “Society’s Child” and “Beautiful” are big standouts.

But it’s Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva who makes the strongest impression as the sharp-tongued Roberta. Whitcomb-Oliva brings some nice humor to the piece with songs such as “Tain’t Nobody’s Business.” But it’s the powerful “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” and “Strange Fruit” that really resonate.

Director Maryanna Clarke demonstrates her usual eye for detail, receiving a worthy assist from music director Eric Dozier. (It would be wonderful to have a live band performing, but the recorded tracks are generally strong.) And Pam Atha’s lively choreography adds to the evening’s fun, particularly with the aforementioned “Single Ladies” and a snappy Motown medley.

“Sistas” marks the first time that TWTP has produced a musical — and I can’t think of a more fitting piece for the company.

If you go

What: Tennessee Women’s Theater Project presents “Sistas: The Musical”

When: Through March 5. Performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays.

Where: Z. Alexander Looby Theater, 2301 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville

Tickets: $15-$20 ($10 on Thursdays)

Contact: or


April 29, 2016

'Sistas the Musical' sings through the pain to find voice of freedom.

Sistas the Musical' at Meadow Brook Theatre


Sistas Cast at Meadow Brook 2016

Five women lift up their spectacular voices in this powerful production of 'Sistas the Musical' at MBT.
Photo courtesy of Meadow Brook Theatre; used by permission.

Billy Holiday’s likeness on the poster for Meadow Brook Theatre’s Michigan premiere of “Sistas the Musical” was enough to win the interest of this reviewer. And indeed, the music credits for this jukebox revue are glorious, ranging from the smoky torch songs of Lady Day and Bessie Smith, to the rockin’ tunes of our own Motown Divas, to chartbusters by such superstars as Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys. Best of all, these songs are performed by five women who know how to belt out a tune. Still, there is more to this show than one might expect.

Playwright Dr. Dorothy Marcic spent years researching the way that African-American women have been represented by popular music over the decades. In fact, one of the characters in “Sistas” is a music-history scholar who explains that the early songs “named the pain” as an act of solidarity, later songs “framed the pain” so that women could take action, and current songs “proclaim” the hard-won freedom that black women have earned for themselves. It is because of this music, and through this music, that the characters take up a story that covers such difficult topics as Jim Crow laws and date rape, and such diametrically opposed figures as Mahalia Jackson and Angela Davis.

The story is organic to the music. A beloved family matriarch has passed, and three of her granddaughters, with their sister-in-law and a teenaged great-granddaughter, have gathered in the attic of her St. Louis home. As they sort through their Grandma’s belongings, they try to agree on a song they can perform as a tribute at her memorial service. They all have different ideas about what to sing.

Simone (Lucy Shropshire) is the thoughtful professor and single mother who takes care to contextualize the various songs for the benefit of her college-bound daughter and, in turn, for the audience. Her silky interpretations of “My Man” and “Stormy Weather” carry the phrasings of a true jazz vocalist.

The widowed Gloria (Monica J. Palmer) carries forward her grandmother’s deep Christian faith, which has sustained her through the loss of her beloved husband. She favors Gospel tunes, and does a power-ballad rendering of “Precious Lord Take My Hand” before serving up more popular Motown classics.

Roberta is played by Jennifer Fouché, who created the role for the off-Broadway run. Roberta has rejected her family’s faith and believes that the true songs are the ones that speak to the injustice found everywhere in black women’s experience. She is proud, cynical, and much more militant than her sisters. Fouché performs with gymnastic vocal range and force; she offers an especially chilling interpretation of “Strange Fruit” but is equally brilliant on the big, upbeat tunes.

Heather (Stacy White) is a white woman married to the sisters’ brother Calvin. She has her own family stories about bigotry, but also of her mother’s experience during the Civil Rights movement. She sings a sweet version of the Janis Ian folk ballad, “Society’s Child” and a soulful rendition of “You Are Beautiful.”

Tamika (Felicia Renae) is Simone’s headstrong daughter. She is besotted with a parasitical young man whom none of the older women approve of; and a number of the songs are performed for Tamika's benefit. Renae has a beautiful voice with amazing range and versatility. She makes a big entrance to “Milkshake,” the Kellis hit written by Pharrell Williams. But she really blows the audience away with her performance of the Whitney Houston hit, “I Have Nothing,” which is especially moving.

Together, these women are indomitable—especially when they perform a medley of Motown songs (love that Holland/Dozier/Holland songbook) and demand a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. “Sistas” shows us how music is a living archive of the personal stories that make up a shared, historical narrative. It is play that everyone can enjoy and one worth bringing the younger generation to see and hear, if for no other reason, to show them the source of their own music.

“Sistas” is directed by Travis W. Walter with music direction by Zachary Ryan (the original off-Broadway “Sistas the Musical” music director). Tyrick Wiltez Jones is the choreographer and Deon Ridley is the associate choreographer. Terry Carpenter is the stage manager, with delightful attic set design by Jen Price Fick, costumes by Mary Elizabeth Winther, lighting by Matthew J. Fick and sound by Mike Duncan.

Zachary Ryan also directs the band and plays piano. Joining him are Sig Helper (Guitar), Timothy D. Martuch (Bass) and Nick Matthews (Percussion).

Tickets range from $27 to $42 and are available by calling the Meadow Brook Theatre box office at 248-377-3300 or purchasing them online at Ticketmaster. Student discounts are available at the box office. Groups of eight or more should call 248-370-3316 for group pricing. Performances are scheduled Wednesdays through Sundays, but curtain times vary; see the theatre’s online calendar for more information. Meadow Brook Theatre is located in Wilson Hall on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester.


April 27, 2016
WJBJ - Detroit

"Sistas" is making its Michigan premiere at Meadow Brook Theatre April 20 - May 15. Meadow Brook Theatre is on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester.

"Sistas" celebrates the role of women in history, especially African-American women, through songs you already know. With songs ranging from "Oh Happy Day" to "I Will Survive" and the music of artists from Billie Holiday to Beyonce, you'll be tempted to sing along.

"The women gather in the attic of their grandmother's house to get ready for her serviceand share memories," says Travis Walter, MBT artistic director. "They take us on a journey from the 1930s through the 60s and into the 90s, and they use music to do it. The songs are great. Everyone will know so many of them. It's a great way for MBT to tell another story that we know our audiences will love to hear."

Tickets range from $27 to $42 and are available by calling the Meadow Brook Theatre box office at 248-377-3300 or going online at Student discounts are available at the box office. Groups of eight or more should call 248-370-3316 for group pricing.



April 28, 2015 - By Natalie Sacks
Photos by Francois Bonneau

'Sistas' Soars Through its 4th Year at St. Luke's

Dorothy Marcic's charming and challenging musical about black women will inspire you to sing along.

Memories in an attic

"I never thought that the weak damsel waiting for Prince Charming really spoke to us as African American women." So Dr. Dorothy Marcic was told, and this sentiment formed the basis of what would eventually become Sistas: the Musical.

Marcic has written a revolutionary little musical, and even in its fourth year Sistas continues to shine. The production follows three sisters, one daughter and one sister-in-law as they prepare to bury the matriarch of their family. As the women recall their shared past with their grandmother and beyond, they take on the history of African American women as well through popular music spanning from Billie Holiday to Beyonce. Sistas is an intelligent feminist critique of modern times told through relatable characters, written for the women whose story it tells.

This musical does not take place in an alternate reality in which people simply burst into song to express their feelings. Instead, as the sisters clean out their grandmother's attic, they sing their way through history trying to choose a song to perform at the funeral, Swiffers as improvised microphone stands and all. And this gregarious family isn't alone belting their hearts out onstage--the audience is encouraged to sing along, and does.

Finding stuff to relive memories

Sistas is a jukebox musical, but rather than taking on the works of one artist or genre, this show travels through the history of black female musicians. Audiences may not be familiar with some of the older songs, but other crowd-pleasers like the rollicking '60s soul medley will have you wanting to dance up to the stage.

As much fun as this musical is, it also does not shy away from confronting big issues that affect many black women's lives head on, from controlling relationships and moving on after a husband's death to sexual assault. Instead, Sistas becomes all about finding joy amidst sadness and misfortune through music. The device of one college professor sister with a doctoral education in the history of African American women, Simone, is used well, elevating the dialogue about "naming and framing the pain" on a larger scale than just their own family without becoming gimmicky or overly academic.

More fun in the attic

The five women onstage are a solid ensemble even as they portray drastically different characters. There's self-confident single mom Simone (Aurelia Williams), sassy and confrontational Roberta (Jennifer Fouche) and sanctimonious but sincere Gloria (Robyn Payne). Amy Goldberger as Heather plays the sole white woman who married into the family with an appropriate degree of awkwardness, finding deeper meaning in the dialogue between the traditional feminism of Heather's mother and the lived experience of marginalized black women within the movement.

But the unexpected star of the production is Danea Osseni as Simone's daughter Tamika, whose breathtaking performance of break-up anthem "Tyrone" leaves both her aunts and the audience singing and cheering along. And as the older women teach Tamika about her ancestry, we learn along with her, celebrating as she gathers the courage to stand up for herself and do her family proud.

As much as Sistas is a show about the past, it is constantly looking toward the future, imagining what African American women will be able to accomplish in Tamika's generation. And theater like this is certainly a great way to start.

Sistas: the Musical plays at St. Luke's Theatre with an open run.
308 West 46th Street, New York, NY.

Original Article

Student tickets for selected performances are available for purchase online
in advance for members of TIX4STUDENTS

FOR 1-9 TICKETS, CALL 212-239-6200 or CLICK HERE


This was from the Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets Jan. 2, 2014 game at Madison Square Garden on MLK day.
The girls were incredible singing the National Anthem, and then came back out for a quarter break, performing "We Are Family" with the Harlem Boys and Girls Alumni Choir. It really was fantastic! Here are some selected photos from the event.


Ask A Newyorker

Sistas, Music for the Heart and Soul

by: Garrett Buhl Robinson
October 27, 2013

Sistas!There is an understanding between women that, as a man, will always elude me. When I was a child, I recall my mother and sister communicating in ways I was incapable of comprehending. It was not a conversation of what was said, but of what was understood. Countless times, my sister would pull me aside and try to explain a perspective of the world that I could not see. When entering a room, most men have recognized the change of tone in the conversation between women. Sistas, The Musical, reveals this mysterious world without compromises or self-consciousness.

Sistas takes place, primarily, in the attic of a matriarch’s house. Five ladies rummage through their memories before the matriarch’s memorial services and rediscover their bond for one another. Through their interaction, there is plenty of cajoling, scolding, feisty attitude, and an undeniable abundance of love and music.

Not only is the music beautifully performed, it is revealed. Music is both personal and social. It sets a tone, defines moments in history and imbues the experiences of our lives.

Through history, music not only describes, it reacts. These women take music spanning four generations and portray the struggles and pride of their African American Heritage and their individual lives.

In turn, the music brings vibrancy to their lives while they bring life to the music. Songs need singers, as much as singers need songs. Through their bond, they find themselves singing each other’s songs while bringing each other’s lives into the music they make together.

This musical offers a number of insights into the lives of these ladies, but the beauty is to hear these ladies pour their hearts out in these songs.

Sistas, The Musical, aired on BET, October 27 and is performed on Saturdays and Sundays at St. Luke’s Theater at 308 W. 46th Street.

Garrett Buhl Robinson is a poet and novelist.

Original article



(CelebNMusic247-News) Sistas The Musical Is Sensational

Sistas: the Musical

The off Broadway hit musical Sistas The Musical is a nonstop celebration that touches on all issues from racism to innocents lost.

Written by CNM248_Admin / June 5, 2013

The Musical kicks off with the news of their grandmother passing and the four Sistas unite while up in the attic trying find the perfect song to honor their grandmother’s legacy at her memorial service. The uplifting and inspirational story follows the Sistas as they discuss their family history and the history of African-American women through popular music spanning four decades of female

Artists help tj from Billie Holiday to Beyoncé and even Kelis.

Sistas had me from the start with My Milkshake and kept the energy going higher and higher with each and every song sang throughout the Musical. Produced by Three-time Tony award winner Hinton Battle and directed by Smash’s Kenneth Ferrone, the off-Broadway musical is a must see. If you don’t own this wonderful and masterfully designed musical that tells an empowering message to all women and men, teaching us each step of the way. As the Sistas discover new things about their grandmother they express emotion through lyrics which tells the story in such a vivid light.

There is never a dull moment in the musical as it speeds by. The Musical is easy to watch over and over again while the actress are compelling, motivation and truly captivate you. Our hats are off to the all-female cast which includes, Tracey Conyers Lee (Gloria), Jennifer Fouche (Roberta) Amy Goldberger (Heather), April Nixon (Simone) and Lexi Rhodes (Tamika). Unlike most, Sistas The Musical will keep emotionally attached and will help lift your spirits mind body and soul. The music has an excellent message that we all need to focus on. It’s a journey of Sistas who are all connected and each of them shares their memories explaining their Grandmothers story.

Personally, I loved the musical and highly recommend watch the DVD which released today. Sistas The Musical is actually one of the best plays I’ve seen in a minute. There are so many lessons to be learned from this musical. We highly recommend this player gives this musical an 9 of 10!

If you are in New York, then make sure to see off-Broadway musical; Sistas The Musical

Get Tickets for Sistas The Musical HERE

Original Article


Sistas Cast Performs National Anthem at Nets Game in New York
The cast from the Off-Broadway show, SISTAS sang the National Anthem, Feb. 13, 2013, at the Nets game (playing Denver), Brooklyn, New York. Members of cast in video include (L to R) Tracey Conyer Lee, Amy Goldberger and Jennifer Fouché



Black Womanist Anthems Shine in 'Sistas: The Musical'


By Ebony / Entertainment & Culture May 2013

SistasWhen the 92-year-old matriarch of a family dies, five female relatives are left to sort through her belongings in search of the perfect song in tribute to her life and legacy. Thus is the plot of Sistas: The Musical, an Off-Broadway play (running over a year strong) that takes audiences through the stories of the quintet as they walk down memory lane and pop music history.

The musical is the work of playwright Dorothy Marcic, produced by three-time Tony Award winner Hinton Battle and directed by Kenneth Ferrone. Sistas begins as the youngest of the family, Tamika (played by Lexi Rhoades,) twerks her way into her grandmother’s attic to “Milkshake” by Kelis. She’s soon joined by her mother Simone and aunts Roberta, Heather and Gloria who, in short order, school her on family history and womanhood through songs that range from “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” by Billie Holiday to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.”

They women are (nearly) all familiar Black family archetypes. Gloria, played by Tracey Conyer Lee, is the self-righteous church aunt. Badia Farha earnestly plays Simone, a college professor and the sort-of straight woman of the musical. Tamika is the painfully ingenuous sister/daughter/niece. Jennifer Fouché delivers a convincing performance as the cynical and wisecracking Roberta. And one of the “sistas,” Heather, is not actually family but a sister-in-law played by White actress Amy Goldberger.

Between Heather’s well-meaning, naïve attempts to connect with the other characters and Tamika’s youthful ignorance, Sistas has plenty teachable moments. But even those are outshined by a selection of top 40 songs you can’t help but sing along with or wait to hear. In fact, the best moments of the musical come when the songs the audience loves so much match the moment on stage perfectly.
“Black women have the same relationship with their hair that White women have with their weight,” one character says before the cast breaks into a truly entertaining and touching rendition of India.Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair.” And when Tamika struggles through a phone call with her boyfriend, her mother and aunts back her up to the tune of “Tyrone” by Erykah Badu.

Overall, Sistas is a fun, family-friendly hour of life lessons told through songs that reflect the highs and lows of being Black in America generally and Black womanhood specifically. It’s also a showcase for some of the best music of the past century.

Original article


Museum of Uncut Funk

This Off Broadway Production Is a Hidden Jewel and a Musical Delight

By Museum of Uncut Funk - December 10, 2012

Sistas: The Musical had my head bouncing, my toes tapping and my off key voice singing (to myself, of course). This off Broadway production is a hidden jewel and a musical delight.

Back in September, I started compiling my list of things to do for my Curator’s Short List for the rest of the year. This is where I identify a list of restaurants where I want to eat, shopping venues I want to patronize and plays I want to see. Sistas: The Musical made the top of my list. I am glad that I finally got a chance to see it!

Sistas is the musical journey of five women who come together to commemorate the loss of the matriarch of their family, their recently departed Grandmother / Great Grandmother Alice. The play weaves together the lives of three Black sisters, one Black teenaged daughter and one Caucasian sister-in-law, as they share both cherished and difficult moments from their Grandmother’s life and their pasts. The cast of characters includes: Simone, the eldest sister and single parent raising a teenage daughter; Tamika, the teenager who is more interested in her boyfriend than family history; Gloria, the god fearing sister who recites bible verses to cope with her siblings and life; Roberta, the revolution loving sister who is funny and full of life but hiding a painful secret; and Heather, the sister-in-law, who holds her own as she inserts herself into family business. Sistas meshes generational issues, racial politics and the personality differences among these women with an interesting play list of music.

Sistas: the Musical

What differentiates this production is the musical selection and the way it transports you along with these women through the decades as they reminisce about their Grandmother’s life and share their own experiences. Taken from the study guide on the Sistas website (, the production “uses popular music sung by African-American women from 1919 through the present time, in order to show social change for Black women and society in general. The music’s trajectory is revealed to go from “Naming the Pain” (A Good Man is Hard to Find) to “Framing the Problem”(I am Not My Hair), to “Proclaiming the Joy” (Just Fine and Golden). This parallels the story of African-American women and their emerging sense of empowerment.”

Read Entire Review


Hillcrest High School
Student reviews on SISTAS: The Musical

Teacher Amy Morrison
Hillcrest High School, 160-05 Highland Avenue, Queens NY 11432

Hillcrest High School

"Sistas was an Amazing Production! I enjoyed the song choices as much as I loved the story. It tells a story that a lot of African American women can relate to. Not only was it full of information, it was hilarious. Anybody can relate to this play. Definitely something I would see again. "--Marie Marrero 12th grader

"Seeing Sistas make you think of the black culture differently. Not only how they went through slavery and hard times but also the 3 sisters had a great way of telling their story to the audience by every song they sang. The songs that the playwright chose to interpret this story was not only fantastic because you got to sing along to the ones you knew but also very understandable and related to the ply in so many ways. After the show we had an amazing time meeting the actors and seeing their point of view on the play and how they interpreted the play in their own way. We are looking forward to the actors, director and playwright to be guests to our Thespian show --"The Gem of the Ocean" in December. -Kelly Persaud 12th grader

"Sistas, Sistas, Sistas, what can I say about this show? Mmmmmm, well, it was a great show!!! I loved every second of it; from the little announcement in the beginning to the last bow, I was on the edge of my seat. Being such an interesting topic that doesn't get talked about too much. Every line, every song lyric, was delivered in a way that was easy to follow, and with such a fabulous cast and band, it couldn't have gone any other way. We were able to speak to the cast and writer and producer after the show and they answered all our questions with kindness and knowledge. Being that I am a Theatre student very much interested in performing on the "Big Stage" one day I really appreciated every minute they took out of their busy schedule to talk with us. "--Amanda Morris 12th grader

"SISTAS!!!! - This was such an amazing show, at first I was a little skeptical of seeing it being that I usually don’t see a lot of plays- this was actually my second time and it was absolutely amazing from the story line, to the individual characters, the different genres of music from the past to present. It was real inspiring and fascinating how someone of your ethnicity to come up with such a uplifting story that many African American women can be happy to express their culture in a great way. I enjoyed it very much and I've recommended many to see it! You should continue writing your extremely talented!" - Karrone Mills 12th grade :)

"Sistas was an absolutely amazing show, better than half the shows I’ve ever seen on Broadway! I felt really connected with the family relationships. The characters had great chemistry and made the audience feel like we were experiencing a real life situation from behind an invisible wall. The characters in Sistas personally made me appreciate and respect the women of my family much more! I would recommend this show to anyone and everyone, it is just a theatrical masterpiece!" Dianne Ramkumar 12th grade

"I thought Sistas was AMAZING!!! I loved that the musical had songs a lot of people know. I couldn't look away at all when watching this musical. I couldn't help but to smile the whole time. I felt like there was a lot to learn from the musical because it had a lot of history tied into it. It showed the women coming together even though in the beginning they were all snapping at each other. The musical had so many funny moments which helped to keep me interested and wanting more. It was just AWESOME, AMAZING, EXCITING & FUN! I hope a lot more people go see SISTAS because I loved it!!!"
--Emani Adams 12th grade



Get a First Look at Tony Winner Hinton Battle and the Cast of Sistas on Smash

By Staff April 27, 2012
The stars of the fun-filled off-Broadway musical Sistas have a new reason to rejoice: The ladies will appear alongside Sistas producer and three-time Tony winner Hinton Battle on the May 7 episode of Smash. Tracey Conyer Lee, April Nixon, Jennifer Fouché and Lexi Rhoades comprise the gospel choir led by Battle, who will play a reverend on the Broadway-centric NBC drama. Could wedding bells be in store for one of the characters? Tune in to Smash to find out, and be sure to check out these talented ladies and their powerful pipes in Sistas at the St. Luke's Theater. More information.

Sistas on Smash
Tracey Conyer Lee, April Nixon, Hinton Battle, Jennifer Fouché and Lexi Rhoades in 'Smash'



APP.Com - Asbury Park Press

OFF-BROADWAY REVIEW: 'Sistas' offers 90 minutes of great songs and powerful messages.
Show features songs from Bessy Smityh to Mary J. Blige

Cast of Sistas
From left, Lexi Rhoades, Tracey Conyer Lee, April Nixon, Amy Goldberger and Jennifer Fouche star in "Sistas: The Musical."
/ COURTESY Russ Roland

"Now this is a song to celebrate

The conscious liberation of the female state!

Mothers — daughters and their daughters too.

Woman to woman

We're singin' with you."

"Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves," Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin

Dorothy Marcic knows a thing or two about women and popular music.

Her first musical, "RESPECT: A Musical Journey of Women," tells the story of women from 1900 to the present. The black cast members of that show asked Marcic to write a similar piece geared toward black women.

The result is "Sistas: The Musical," an inspiring musical journey full of laughter and a few tears.

SistasApril Nixon, from left, Amy Goldberger, (middle), Lexi Rhoades, Tracey Conyer Lee and Jennifer Fouche during a Motown medley. / COURTESY RUSS ROLAND

The 90-minute show covers everything from segregation to the women's movement to the meaning of love and control. Featuring songs from Bessie Smith to Mary J. Blige, "Sistas" is based on a series of interviews conducted with black women over a six-year period. A hit during last summer's Midtown International Theater Festival, it is now playing at St. Luke's Theatre on 46th Street.

The story begins with a family going through Grandma Alice's attic. Grandma recently died, and Simone, Roberta, Gloria, Heather and Tamika (Lexi Rhoades) are going through her things. While they are there, they discover a lot about each other as they look for an appropriate song to sing to honor Grandma at her funeral.

Nixon leads the cast as Simone (April Nixon), the eldest sister and a professor who is raising Tamika, her teen daughter, by herself. While the sisters are all independent women, Simone comes across as the rock and protector, the voice of reason full of kindness and wisdom. And yet she does let loose, leading the group in Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," complete with boas. It's lots of fun.

The most interesting character of the five is Roberta (Jennifer Fouche). She's angry at the world, the justice system and seems to want nothing to do with religion. As the story continues, we learn why she is so bitter and frustrated. Throughout the show, Fouche is a real presence. One of the most powerful moments is her rendition of Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit."

Marisha Wallace (filling in during a recent performance for Tracey Conyer Lee) impresses with her big gospel voice, and she believably portrays Gloria's love for Jesus. Still, she seems too young for the part. The chemistry between her and the other cast members was strong, but next to Nixon and Fouche, she seems out of place.

As Tamika, Lexi Rhoades convinces as the girl who just wants to have fun. She is at her best singing Erykah Badu's "Tyrone" — when she breaks up with her no-good boyfriend. It's one of the funniest moments in the play. Rhoades struggles, though, with "I Have Nothing." Nobody expects her to have Whitney Houston's range, but director Kenneth Ferrone should realize her limitations.

As Heather, the only white girl on stage, Amy Goldberger inadvertently entertains the audience with some of her moves. At the same time, she also puzzles/annoys them with her character's statements on race. Heather is not a bigot, not even close. After all, she married into the family. But her experiences are far different. She does create some tension with her sisters-in-law, but it never lasts long. Goldberger attempts to be soulful at times, which is not wise. She's fine singing backup, especially during the Motown medley.

Credit must be given to the fine three-piece band tucked off-stage to the left of the audience: Musical director Nicholas Cheng on keyboard, Matt Cusack on bass and Brian Adler on percussion.

At the end of the show, the enthusiastic Marcic walked on stage wanting everyone to spread the word about "Sistas." Deep down, however, she must have realized that her words were unnecessary. The audience, who often sang and clapped along with the cast, was clearly touched and moved by the show's music and messages of love, family, faith, independence and justice.

Put another way: "Sistas" is doing it for itself.



Comedy & Entertainment World News

SISTAS - Off Broadway New Musical
Review by DeAlan Wilson

Powerful "SISTAS" Hits Off-Broadway

What do you get when you combine five powerful singers, one great story and lots of hit music? You get a new hit Off-Broadway musical called "SISTAS". And fortunately, I recently had the opportunity to see the show in New York City.

When I walked into the theatre on West 46th street, I really did not know what to expect. Many times I have attended off-Broadway productions to be sadly disappointed. I have labored through poor lighting, bad sound systems, poorly written books etc. all in hopes of finding gems among the rubble. With "SISTAS", I have found a solid DIAMOND!

"SISTAS", the new Off-Broadway musical is truly awesome! With an original book written by Dr. Dorothy Marcic, the show takes us on a musical ride of a lifetime. The story is a simple one. Three sisters plus one sister-in-law and one daughter gather in the attic of their recently deceased grandmother to go through her left behind personal items. While they are trying to figure out an appropriate song to perform, in her honor, at an upcoming church service, we get to know all these women very intimately. As they go through grandma's old records etc. we are taken down a road through musical history highlighting some of the best R&B, Pop, Gospel and Soul music from the past 50 plus years.

Songs including gospel classics like: "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round" and "Oh Happy Day!" and modern day hits from: Beyonce Knowles, Whitney Houston, Erykah Badu and India Arie are all included in this show.

The overall way in which playwright, Dr. Marcic writes and molds the lives of these five women together in a cataclysmic synergy of spirit is a sight to behold. The performances of all the casts members including Jennifer Fouche, Amy Goldberger, Tracy Conyer Lee, Lexi Rhoades and April Nixon are high caliber for sure. All their voices are simply breathtaking. One number, in particular, performed by Lexi Rhoades who portrays the character "Tamika", a late teen/early twenty something year old daughter who struggles in a relationship with a young man that is leading to nowhere, sings a 'knock-the-ball-out- of-the-park' rendition of late Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing". Her performance, which brought several audience members to their feet, left us all wanting more.

The show continued to deliver much more as it went on to illustrate many long-known issues faced by African American women throughout history. Covering topics including absentee and runaway male spouses, women's self-image issues, politics, parenting and so much more, the show touches your heart mind and soul. However, the truly great thing about this show is that playwright, Dr. Dorothy Marcic did not make this show all about simply "beating-up" on the African American male. She has carefully crafted a storyline more about humanity's self-image. Whether male or female, she helps us all understand our personal lives more clearly especially, when it comes to judging our family members, friends and others around us. Thinking about this, I am taken aback to one great ensemble number brilliantly staged by director, Kenneth Ferrone, in which he creates a wonderful moment by having all the ladies hold up small hand-held mirrors. Looking at themselves, they sing a gut-retching version of the India Arie popularized song, "I Am Not My Hair".

The show is produced by three time Tony Award winner, Hinton Battle in association with Jenkay LLC., and choreographed by Lauren Lim Jackson.

After the show, I had the opportunity to sit and talk with the show's playwright, Dr. Dorothy Marcic whose career includes work as a Columbia University Professor as well as being a U.S. Fulbright Scholar.

DeAlanWilson-DorothyMarcicDuring my interview with Dr. Marcic, she was not only extremely warm but very candid about her latest creation. Dr. Marcic, who is Caucasian, says she was first prompted to write this story more than seven years ago when she was approached by a group of African American women who were performing in one of her earlier works. She says they asked her to write something focused on Black women and the issues they considered relevant. Dr. Marcic says she never expected her efforts would endear her to the African American community as it has.

When I asked Dr. Marcic about bringing this show to Off-Broadway, she candidly told me, "One of the most difficult parts was finding the right producers and financing for the show." She had several offers but expressed that she wanted to find the right combination for this particular show. It was not until after presenting the show at the Midtown International Theatre Festival in 2011 that she says everything fell into place.

My interview with Dr. Marcic also gave me the opportunity to ask her about her inclusion of the one and only Caucasian female character in the show, "Heather" (brilliantly played by actress Amy Goldberger). I wanted to know why she included this great character as a part of the story. Dr. Marcic kindly replied, "Many of the issues faced by African American women are the same for other races. In order for me to be able to bring up many of these issues I felt this character was needed." (In the show, the character of "Heather" happens to be very happily married to the brother of the "SISTAS".) Dr. Marcic went on to say, "We White women struggle with the issue of our weight in the same way many African American women struggle with the looks and styles of their hair." (We all laughed.)

DeAlan Wilson with Cast of Sistas

DeAlan Wilson with Cast of Off-Broadway show, "SISTAS" in New York City.
From left: Tracey Conyer Lee, Jennifer Fouche, Dr. Dorothy Marcic,
Heather Goldberger, Lexi Rhoades and April Nixon.

SISTAS is currently running off-Broadway at St. Lukes Theatre located at 308 West 46th Street in New York City. For tickets and show times, visit:


Review Posted By: DeAlan Wilson (Entertainment Correspondent / Writer / Producer Ð New York City, N.Y.) DeAlan Wilson is a freelance television & film screenwriter and TV show developer. His online publication Comedy Entertainment Magazine and cover entertainment news & comedy. His blog can be followed at:



Harlem World

Walter's World: Sistas the Musical
Posted: February 14, 2012
By Walter Rutledge

Cast of Sistas
Jennifer Fouché (Roberta) Tracey Conyer Lee (Gloria) Lexi Rhoades (Tamika) and April Nixon (Simone)

A fun evening of music and the inspirational power of family was had by all at Sistas the Musical last Thursday. The musical is now running off-Broadway at the St. Luke Theatre (308 West 46th Street) on Thursday at 7 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday at 4:30pm. The musical is a one-act presentation and runs a very quick seventy-minutes without an intermission.

After the death of the family matriarch five female members of her family, sisters Roberta (Jennifer Fouché), Gloria (Tracey Conyer Lee) and Simone (April Nixon) Simone's daughter Tamika (Lexi Rhoades) and a Caucasian sister-in-law Heather (Amy Goldberger), meet in their grandmother's attic. The women go through boxes and open trucks sharing memories of the grandmother's life, her struggles and the struggles of women of color. In the process they affirm their own lives and the lives of women today.

Sistas enjoyed a successful run at the Midtown International Theater Festival 2011. The positive audience response resulted in sold out houses during the festival and encouraged the producers (three-time Tony Award winner Hinton Battle and Jenkay LLC.) to further develop the musical for a run off-Broadway. Aside from reminiscing, each woman has a story of her own to share. These range from sexual abuse to interracial marriage, from self-esteem and single parenting to losing a spouse. These affirmations are then reinforced through the song.

Cast of Sistas
Amy Goldberger (Heather), Nixon, Lee, Fouché, Rhoades

Sistas incorporates 38 songs many of them musical anthems of female empowerment. The songs are literally an American songbook from Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday to The Supremes and Beyoncé. Allowing the talented cast to effortlessly take us on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, while remaining thought-provoking, enlightening and upbeat. The music is the backdrop to a well-crafted script by playwright Dorothy Marcic and on target directing by Kenneth Ferrone.

One of the most gratifying aspects of the musical is that although it is an all female cast the musical does not bash men! This makes it a perfect date night. For more information and tickets visit, or call 212 239-620. Group sales are available.

Rus Rowland photographer



Open Field Interviews - December 21, 2011
The cast of "SISTAS: THE MUSICAL" stops by OPEN for a very special performance, and a sneak peak at the show.

Bronxnet Video


December 31, 2011
By Audrey J. Bernard, Reviewer

Sistas: The Musical Opening Night Curtain Call features:
Amy Goldberger, April Nixon, Tracy Conyer Lee, Jennifer Fouche, Lexi Rhoades in gold lame outfits.

Sistas: The Musical, the storied musical journey of African American women from Bessie Smith to Beyonce through Top-40 music officially opened on Sunday, October 23, 2011, Off-Broadway at the St. Luke's Theatre (308 West 46th Street) to rave reviews after a very successful run at the Midtown International Theater Festival. Nightly, theatergoers happily leave the play with a smile on their face and humming one of the memorable songs from the full of fun musical.

The 90-minute musical sans intermission stars Jennifer Fouché, Amy Goldberger, Tracey Conyer Lee, April Nixon and Lexi Rhoades, and is produced by 3-time Tony winner Hinton Battle, and Jenkay, LLC (Jay Harris and William Franzblau).

The side-splitting fun play is written by Dorothy Marcic (writer of Respect: The Musical, which has played in 20 cities), and stunningly directed by Kenneth Ferrone. All members of the play's production team know a thing or two about successful musicals having all been involved in many hit musicals. They can now add this play to their winning trophy case.

After a matriarch's death, the women in the family clean Grandma's attic and find love and old memories packed away, and in the process, hit tunes that trace the history of Black women, from the trials of the 1930s through the Girl Groups of the 60s to the empowerment of the 90s.

Three sisters (Jennifer Fouché, Tracey Conyer Lee and April Nixon); their white sister-in-law (Amy Goldberger); and Lexi Rhoades who plays April Nixon's daughter prepare for the funeral of the family's 92-year-old matriarch. When we meet the sisters, they are in their grandmother's attic as they prepare for an appropriate song to sing.

During their search, their individual experiences begin to unravel and they learn compelling things about each other that they never knew before including sexual abuse. In the end they triumph over adversity becoming victors instead of victims from pain and fear. All of this while singing a happy tune or a relatable song.

Sistas: The Musical is a warm and touching story about friendship and family. Marcic's true accounts of the Black woman's spirituality resonate in her writing. She truly captures our essence in a very engaging way. "I wrote 'Sistas The Musical' because I love the music of African American women," states Marcic. "And I saw how the music tells their story and how uplifting that story is. It's the story of love, of family, of overcoming obstacles and ultimate triumph of spirit."

The 3-man soulful band — Nicholas Cheng (keyboard); Matt Cusack (bass); Brian Adler (percussion) — garnered deafening applause throughout the production playing hit after hit. Many times, when you play in an intimate venue such as the St. Luke's Theatre, a live band tends to drown out the performers. This never happened here as the band accompanied the singers like a teacher does her class on a field trip.

Songs included "Oh, Happy Day," "Mama Said," "I Will Survive," "Tyrone," "I Am Not My Hair," "We Are Family," Stormy Weather," Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," "God Bless the Child," Strange Fruit," Sweet Talkin' Guy," "Take My Hand Precious Lord," "Milkshake," Say a Little Prayer," "R.E.S.P.E.C.T." and "A Woman's Worth."

During this Yuletide Season, when you make your list and check it twice, make sure that Sistas: The Musical is on it! The creative team behind Sistas: the Musical includes Ed Staudenmayer (associate director); Nicholas Cheng (musical director); Germono Toussaint (additional arrangements); Lauren Lim Jackson (choreographer); Renee Marino (associate choreographer); Kia Rogers (lighting designer); Josh Iacovelli (set designer); Tricia Barsamian (costume designer); and Sam Mattingly (general press representative).

At show's end guests joined the cast at an after party in an intimate room at the theater that was hosted by Marcic and the producers. Guests lined up to offer their congratulations to the captivating cast and vowed that they would come back and bring their sisters with them. (Photo Credit: Lawrence Gallmon)

Original article


New York Amsterdam News

December 24, 2011
By Linda Armstrong

Sistas Finale
L to R: Lexi Rhoades (Tamika), Tracey Conyer Lee (Gloria), April Nixon (Simone),
Amy Goldberger (Heather) and Jennifer Fouche (Roberta)

When I left "Sistas: The Musical" on Saturday evening, I had a lot of reflecting to do, because this show has many layers. On the surface, it is a marvelous time listening to a talented cast of women singing some great hits from Black female artists like Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Mahalia Jackson, Diana Ross and Gloria Gaynor, bringing you into modern times with singers like Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige and Macy Gray.

The songs take you through a history of music that includes women revealing their feelings through the blues, gospel, love songs and spirited songs declaring they don't care if anyone else approves of their men. Other songs simply told men off and displayed the strong spirit of the Black woman.

Selected songs in the show include "Oh Happy Day," "Ain't Nobody's Business," "God Bless the Child," "Precious Lord," "Strange Fruit," "You Just Keep Me Hanging On," "Call Tyrone," "Single Ladies" and "I Will Survive."

Playwright Dorothy Marcic found a perfect way to bring all of these songs together into a story that demands your attention. As the female members of a family gather to go through the attic of their deceased great-grandmother, they tell stories of the past and discover materials that she left behind that divulge more information about what Black women have endured.

There are three sisters: Roberta (Jennifer Fouché), Gloria (Tracey Conyer Lee) and Simone (April Nixon). Also in the play is Tamika (Lexi Rhoades), Simone's daughter, and Heather (Amy Goldberger), a white sister-in-law. As these ladies go through the items in the attic, they talk about how their great-grandmother had been a maid and how her white employer spoke down to her.

They talk of the hurt the family has endured due to racism, when one of the male members chose to be an entrepreneur and was killed by the Klan in the South. There are many revealing family stories that are discussed. Each character is also revealed, as they have issues that need to come to the surface.

On the final level, this story is about the strength and power of the Black woman, and it is a beautiful and uplifting story to see and share. I took my 9-year-old daughter and she had a marvelous time. All five of the actresses have fabulous singing voices and clearly put their hearts into every number.

You will find yourself singing along, clapping and definitely sympathizing with what these characters are going through, as well as identifying with what the elder Black women in their lives had to endure for them to be the women they are today. "Sistas: The Musical" is an acknowledgment of where we came from and who we have become today!

Marcic's story is perfectly directed by Kenneth Ferrone and is presented by multiple Tony Award winner Hinton Battle and Jenkay LLC. It is playing at St. Luke's Theatre, at 308 W. 46th St., in an open-ended run. For more information, visit


NY Beacon

December 22, 2011
By Keith L. Forest

Talented Teens and Stellar Performers Illuminate Harlem Stage On the Plaza

The holiday season in the Village of Harlem recently came to life as Harlem's own Grammy and Oscar nominated music group Impact Repertory Theatre and youth groups, including Vy Higginsen's Gospel for Teens and the Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts' Voices of Excellence choir, took center stage on the plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building for the 35th annual Harlem Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Hosted by NY1 News leading anchorwoman Cheryl Wills, the festive, outdoor, family affair also featured a soulful holiday greeting from R&B song stylist Alyson Wiulliams who moved the crowd with her own personal rendition of "This Christmas." Three time Tony Award winner Hinton Battle was also on hand.

Broadway community's most respected musical star debuted his first inspirational single, "When I Walk," and later introduced cast members from his latest off Broadway production, "Sistas."

Hinton Battle, producer of Sistas
(L-R) New York State Office of General Service staff member/tree organizer April Robbins-Bobyns,
actor/director Hinton Battle, Cheryl Wills, Alyson Williams and (OGS) Building Manager/Holidays
in Harlem committee member Willie Walker with cast of "SISTAS (background).

(Photos: Hubert Williams of Images of Us)

Read entire issue of New York Beacon - December 22, 2011 (PDF). Excerpts about SISTAS on pp 27 & 30.


NY Beacon

December 15, 2011
By Audrey J. Bernard

New York Beacon Hosts Matinee Performance of Sistas: The Musical

On Sunday, December 4, 2011, the New York Beacon hosted a matinee performance for Sistas: The Musical playing Off Broadway at the St. Lukes Theatre for 60 people. Sistas: the Musical, the story of African American women through Top-40 music, is produced by 3-time Tony winner Hinton Battle, written by Dorothy Marcic (writer of "RESPECT: The Musical," which has played in 20 cities), and directed by Kenneth Ferrone. The play stars Tracey Conyer Lee, Lexi Rhoades, April Nixon, Jennifer Fouché, and Amy Goldberger. After a smashing performance, Battle was joined by Marcic onstage to thank the audience for attending this special performance and for their support, and to thank and acknowledge the staff of the New York Beacon including the paper's co-publisher Miatta Haj Smith. The overwhelming consensus was that everyone loved the play and could not wait to get their buzz on. Some were even so carried away that they just couldn't wait to spread the news and tweeted during the 90-minute production sans intermission. If you would like to host your own theater party for a performance of this magnificent production, call the play's press representative, Sam Mattingly, SM Communications, at 917-331-9375, who was very instrumental in the NYB hosting this glorious performance. Following the performance, some of the guests continued their favorable comments over drinks at the famous B. Smith's restaurant just up the street from the theatre.

New York Beacon hosts matinee performance of Sistas: The Musical
    Sistas: The Musical -- Cast

Hinton Battle and Dorothy Marcic are joied by the videographer onstage
  Hinton Battle and Dorothy Marcic are joined by the videographer onstage
to thank the New York Beacon

Read entire review (PDF document)


New York Times

They're Not the Supremes, But they Know the Tunes!

Theater Review
October 28, 2011
By Anita Gates

Sistas: The Musical -- From left, Amy Goldberger, April Nixon, Tracey Conyer Lee,
Jennifer Fouché and Lexi Rhoades don gold lamé for a show written by Dorothy Marcic at St. Luke's Theater.

Dorothy Marcic’s “Sistas: The Musical,” now playing at St. Luke’s Theater, is a sweet and sassy ...little show. Three sisters (Jennifer Fouché, Tracey Conyer Lee and Lexi Rhoades); their mother (April Nixon); and their white sister-in-law (Amy Goldberger) prepare for the funeral of the family’s 92-year-old matriarch. One sister was sexually abused; one is throwing away her life on a worthless man who mistreats her; one has become deeply religious; and the mother is an overachiever who was valedictorian at Spelman. They discuss lynchings, freedom riders, SNCC, racial profiling, feminism, hair weaves (“Black women have the same relationship with their hair that white women have with their weight,” one character observes), weakness versus vulnerability, and the difference between “naming the pain” and wallowing in it.

...The real reason you’re there is for the songs, which range from Ms. Fouché’s powerful rendition of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do” to a ’60s soul medley that hits the heights with “Stop! In the Name of Love,” sung by all five women wearing makeshift gold lamé gowns. The group number “Single Ladies” is pretty great too.

In the end it’s a good-natured, low-budget evening with plenty of humor and some impressive voices.


Adams Report

Playwright Dorothy Marcic is interviewed on "Talk! with Audrey Adams"



Sistas was featured on ABC, New York HERE AND NOW.

Here and Now New York


New York Times

Sunday, October 23, 2011
ARTS / theatre
By Ben Brantley


Cast of Sistas

From left, Jennifer Fouche, Tracey Conyer Lee, Lexi Rhoades and April Nixon in a scene from
"Sistas: The Musical" at St. Luke's Theater.

"Sisterhood is powerful" should acquire new resonance this week with two musical productions that have assembled their own special sororities. The differences between them suggest that sisters, like Sergio Leone's cowboys, fall into the categories of the good, the bad and the ugly.

If it's sisterly love you're after, there's Dorothy Marcic's "SISTAS: THE MUSICAL" at St. Luke's Theater. Directed by Kenneth Ferrone, this inspirational songbook follows the women of an African-American family from the days of Jim Crow to the present, a journey filled with songs made famous by the likes of Billie Holiday and Beyoncé. Opening Sunday night, 308 West 46th Street, Manhattan; (212) 239-6200,; $29.50 to $69.50.


Heart and Soul

Name the Pain and Proclaim Your Power Through Music

Posted by Editorial Staff on Monday, July 25, 2011
Original Article

Sistas Playwright Dorothy Marcic declares the significance of African-American women's "herstory" through music in her spirited new off-Broadway production, "Sistas the Musical." Marcic's "sistas" find solace and honesty in a musical journey from Ma Rainey to Beyonce that helps them explore painful experiences and find the strength to press on as a family of empowered women. With songs like "I Will Survive," "Greatest Love of All," and "Single Ladies," the musical tells the story of a family's search for unity and love and expresses appreciation for female trailblazers we often take for granted.

"We have so many freedoms now...You kind of forget the life women lived," explains Dorothy Marcic, a professor at Columbia University and former Fulbright Scholar. Her piece shows African-American women have always been at the forefront of music with honest lyrics and captivating stories told through song. Such frankness and storytelling is so important in this day and age of uncertainty and cover-ups. "This is a time we need truth; to hear the truth and speak the truth. African-American women have been doing that all along," she adds.
Not only is our music crucial to telling the truth about the tumultuous outward situations, it's key to soothing our inward battles. Being still, listening to music for five minutes, sometimes even to an hour, eases the soul according to Marcic.

"Something about music just goes to your soul. There's a song for everything." For sensational "Sistas" actress, Patrice Covington, music acts as an escape, connection, and memory. "Music is how you meet everything," she shares.

While Marcic is in-tune with her creative passion, she also juggles the business aspect of producing inspirational musicals, such as "RESPECT: Women and Popular Music and Love Lift Me Higher." Tackling the details of investors, advertisement, public relations, and inevitable obstacles, Dorothy understands the most important point is to maintain organization. "You can't be creative when you're tied in knots," she reasons. According to Marcic, "All it takes is time, energy, and focus...It's fun if you make all the pieces work."

To aspiring playwrighters, Dorothy encourages the constant reading and watching of great plays and developing a body of work. What better way to start than by experiencing "Sistas the Musical" this month.
Sieda Johnson

For more information visit:


Times Square Chronicles

July 23, 2011
By Sandi Durell
An excerpt from the Original Article

'Peg O' My Heart' & 'Sistas' At Midtown International Theatre Festival

I saw two musicals the other day, both very impressive, spanning different time periods, generations and ethnicities, but similar because both offer fine historical overviews.

"Sistas: The Musical" is a revue with a story about the strife of African-American women told through song featuring music from the 30's to present day. The women are brought together by the death of Grandma Alice, the matriarch of the family, as relationships flare and share as they rummage through memories in the attic. It is written by playwright Dorothy Marcic, a professor at Columbia University, who authored 14 books including RESPECT: Women and Popular Music; the musical RESPECT, subsequently touring throughout the U.S.

The women, while searching for an appropriate song for Grandma Alice's memorial, engage in the heartbreak and joys of African-American women everywhere as their story comes to life - from oppression to empowerment.

Tamika (Patrice Covington), the youngest of the group is equipped with typical gear, bopping and listening to music on her earphones and texting on her cell; her cousins Gloria (Angela K. Thomas) and Roberta (Jennifer Fouche) more seriously involved in the memories, misfortunes and realities of strife as tunes like "My Man," "Tain't Nobody's Business" and "God Bless the Child" recount stories with references to Ma Rainey and Billie Holiday. Tamika's mom Simone (Gayle Samuels), a Phd. at a university, speaks about Betty Friedan and the women's movement, relating it to Bessie Smith who sang about it 90 years earlier, as the talk turns to bigotry, hardship and the expression of the spirit of African-American women.

Roberta is angered, intent on the sacrifices the women have made, the history and horrors as she soulfully sings "Strange Fruit," her deep bluesy sound quite impressive. Briana Davis plays Heather, the white girlfriend, who bears the brunt of anger that erupts as she attempts to assuage the bitterness.

The show takes a lighter turn about halfway through, as it turns to glamour, boyfriends and music like "Mama Said," Baby, I'm Yours," Say a Little Prayer," Stop in the Name of Love" and a rip-roaring R E S P E C T.

Tamika is the comic relief as Simone does her turn on "I Will Survive." Chatter turns to hair relaxers and "white women worry about weight; black women worry about hair" as they sing "I Am Not My Hair." "Call Tyrone" gets a lot of audience reaction, as does "All the Single Ladies." Tamika does a bang up job with a Whitney Houston tune. There's a bit of proselytizing from Gloria about God, independence and inter-dependence, lessons are learned and a happy ending with "We Are Family."

They are accompanied by a trio, Musical Director Charles Geizhals. The show is directed by Kenneth Ferrone; Choreography is by Lauren Lim-Jackson.



Patrice Covington, Briana Davis, Angela K. Thomas Cast in Sistas: The Musical

By Andrew Gans
05 Jul 2011
Original Article

SISTAS: The Musical, the story of African-American women told through popular music, from "God Bless the Child" to Destiny's Child, will begin a limited run of six performances July 11 at the Abingdon Theater's June Havoc Theater.

Directed by Kenneth Ferrone, the cast includes Patrice Covington, Briana Davis, Jennifer Fouche, Gayle Samuels and Angela K. Thomas.

"After a matriarch's death," press notes state, "the women in the family clean Grandma's attic and find love and old memories packed away, and in the process, hit tunes that trace the history of black women, from the trials of the 1930's through the Girl Groups of the 60's to the empowerment of the 90's." Songs include "Oh, Happy Day," "Mama Said," "I Will Survive," "Tyrone," "I am Not My Hair" and "A Woman's Worth."

Dorothy Marcic, who also wrote Respect, penned the libretto.


Caribbean Life

June 30, 2011
Original Article

"Sistas The Musical" is a highly anticipated new musical from playwright Dorothy Marcic. Sistas will premiere at Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York on Monday, July 11.

Sistas is the story of African-American women told through popular music, from "God Bless the Child" to "Destiny's Child," taking audience members on a musical journey from "Mama Said" to "Mr. Big Stuff" to "Tyrone" to "Single Ladies."

Sistas opens with a family's search for what's important after a tragedy. Their voyage takes them through old family emblems as the audience walks down memory lane with the piece into a musical celebration.

Overall, Sistas is a story about friendship, family and the important things in life. "I wrote 'Sistas The Musical' because I love the music of African-American women," states playwright Dorothy Marcic. "And I saw how the music tells their story and how uplifting that story is. It's the story of love, of family, of overcoming obstacles and ultimate triumph of spirit."

"Sistas The Musical" is a part of The Midtown International Theatre Festival, now in its twelfth year, celebrating the diversity of theatre. Sistas will run from Monday, July 11 - Sunday, July 31 (selected dates; see below) at June Havoc Theatre - Abingdon Theatre Complex, 312 West 36th Street, New York, N.Y. 10018.

The cast of 'Sistas' includes: Angela K. Thomas, Gayle Samuels, Briana Davis, Patrice Covington and Jennifer Fouche.*

About the Playwright: Dr. Dorothy Marcic is a professor at Columbia University and a former Fulbright Scholar, author of 14 books, including "Managing with the Wisdom of Love" and "RESPECT: Women and Popular Music" (upon which her first musical was based) and most recently, "Love Lift Me Higher." She lives in Nashville and New York.

About the Director: Kenneth Ferrone recently Associate Directed the Broadway musical, Wonderland as well as the Off-Broadway premiere of In Transit. Recent New York credits include work at Primary Stages, Atlantic Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, Robert Moss Theatre, the Hudson Theatre, and NYC International Fringe Festival. Regionally, Kenneth has worked at the Alley Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Bay Street Theatre, Steppenwolf, and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

©2011 Community Newspaper Group


Harlem One Stop

Theatre Performance - Sistas: The Musical
Original Article

> official website

Sistas: The Musical is the story of African-American women told through popular music, from "God Bless the Child" to "Destiny's Child," using hit tunes to trace the history of black women, from the trials of the 1930's through the Girl Groups of the 60's to the empowerment of the 90's. This soulful, laugh-out-loud show takes the audience on a musical journey from pain to pride to power. After a matriarch''s death, the women in the family clean Grandma's attic and find love and old memories packed away.

Writer: Dorothy Marcic, Director: Kenneth Ferrone. The cast of Sistas includes: Patrice Covington, Briana Davis, Jennifer Fouche, Gayle Samuels, and Angela K. Thomas


April 25, 2012:
The Off Broadway Alliance, the organization of Off Broadway producers, theaters, general managers, press agents and marketing firms, has announced the nominees for the 2nd Annual Off Broadway Alliance Awards, honoring commercial and not-for-profit productions that opened Off Broadway during the 2011-2012 season.
SISTAS has been nominated as "Best New Musical."
More information.


"An extraordinary musical that uses Grammy-winning hit songs to convey the journey of African Amercian Women has satisfied the souls of many. No other Off-Broadway Musical I've seen has generated so much enthusiasm as Sistas. Those stereotypical notions of the African American experience for women has been rooted with Oral Tradition to empower its meaningfulness. With an exciting performance by April Nixon's portrayal of Simone, the actress fosters our belief that education can be a conventional way to connect heritage with our perception of reality. Roberta's sensational role honors familihood by singing songs to promote the idea of survival. Furthermore, married to this production is a skillful pianist whose supportive power embraces the drummer as he beats into our hearts with a sense of Jazziness. This is why I proclaim that Sistas is AMAZING!"
           ~ Van Havercome, Professor at St. Francis College English Department

"I went expecting to hear some 'oldies but goodies' and was blindsided by the excellent story ( a monologue by the character, Roberta, brought me and most of the people to tears). Five women grab you when they take the stage and don't let go until you're on your feet begging for more! I don't want to give too much away; but, the energy, the story and the ability of these characters to draw you into their world is amazing. The singing alone is worth the ticket!"

"This engaging musical production leaves you elated. The life of a matriarch intertwined with the lived experiences of her female descendants is relived through the musical legacy of female singers spanning some 80 years."

"Saw the show last night - one word BRILLIANT! It was a refreshing perspective on our journey. Take your daughters to see this show...especially teenagers. Highy recommended and very affordable."

"Thank you for an AMAZING show ladies! What a powerhouse of talent and what a great show...wishing you all the best for a fantastic run and sending you all good vibes that it will have a life after the MITF! Brava!!!"

"What a treat! This play deserves to be sold out every night! Grab some friends and go on this journey of "sistas" won't regret it!"

"I had a WONDERFUL time, GREAT performance, extremely TALENTED ladies!!!!"

"You ladies were great!!! This was one of the best musicals I have ever seen. It made me laugh, it made cry, it made me sad and then it made me happy! I hope I will have the opportunity to see the show again...come back!"

For all press and media information, please contact
Sam Mattingly, SM Communications

1500 Washington Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030