She added Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama, expanding her solo show, “Brand New Shoes,” to two sketch acts about historically significant Black American women.
But with these additions, Barbara Jordan, the famous civil rights leader and congresswoman from Texas who spoke eloquently during the Nixon-era Watergate hearings in the 1970s, had to be dismissed, says Tia Madison. , author of the play and professor of communication studies at Napa Valley College.
Yet Madison’s nearly 90-minute piece still includes vignettes she created 22 years ago while a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, and refined over the following years: Prints by Rosa Parks, Katherine Dunham, Maya Angelou, Dorothy Dandridge, Mary McLeod Bethune and Marian Anderson.
Vallejo resident Madison, who will resume her show for two performances on Saturday at the Suisun Harbor Theater in Suisun City, said the sketches had evolved over time to reflect not only her heightened theatrical skills, but also the slings and arrows of life that come with growing old.
“I think the change is in me,” she said in a brief phone interview on Tuesday. “The characters are always the same. When he wrote it in 2000, I was young and didn’t have many experiences. I believe the series has matured with me.
Reviewed favorably in The Reporter when it opened more than 15 years ago in Solano County, “Brand New Shoes” – which briefly delves into women’s lives through period costumes, songs, dances, a figurative language and a story – is “a celebration, an evolution of shoes – not the ones you wear, but the ones you wear,” Madison states at the start of the piece.
As she dons a series of 10 1/2 AA shoes, she transforms into famous women at key moments in their lives: Parks the civil rights pioneer; Angelou the poet; Dunham the famous choreographer; Anderson the opera diva; Bethune the educator; Dandridge the beautiful and troubled film actress; Winfrey, the American businesswoman, talk show host, actress, author, producer and philanthropist; and Obama, the lawyer and former first lady.
Most recently, Madison, 46 and mother of two, presented the award-winning show (Sacramento Regional Theater Alliance honors Outstanding Original Screenplay and Outstanding Production of an Original Screenplay) during Black History Month at Cal Maritime , the merchant marine academy, in Vallejo.
In addition to earning a master’s degree in theater, Madison earned a doctorate in curriculum and teaching from the University of Phoenix in 2013. Her dissertation was titled “A Qualitative Phenomenological Study of Leadership Challenges in Programs.” retention programs,” an effort, she wrote in an email to The Reporter, “to highlight programs that bridge the gap between achievement and opportunity for ‘African-American community college students’ and the challenges program managers face”.
The show’s revival comes amid major changes in America, from the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement to the rise of white supremacist groups nationwide and the January 6, 2021 invasion of the U.S. Capitol. increasing the number of black people in our halls of government; and the publication of the 1619 Project, this latest long-running journalism project that reframes the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans to our nation’s narrative.
As she and the play have matured, Madison has been approached by other actors to perform the show and she plans to release it, she said.
“I think it’s time to share this work with other actors,” she said. “Over the years, I’ve wanted to be the actress to do it, but now I’m ready to share that job with other actors.”
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
A one-woman show by Tia Madison
When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday
Or: Suisun Harbor Theater
720 Main Street, Suisun City
Information: (707) 435-3800