Plays written by Jennie Redling
MY HEART IS THE DRUM
My Heart is the Drum – My Heart is the Drum is a big musical set in West Africa with a driving, African-influenced score. It is the story of Efua Kuti, a 16-year-old girl who is aching to leave behind her stifling, poverty-stricken village to become a teacher, and Edward Adu, a farmhand with traditional views who is in love with her. Inspired by the spirit of her grandmother, Efua runs away to Ghana’s capital city of Accra to attend the university, but on arrival gets abducted into prostitution. Edward sets out to find her. Efua has always been able to draw on her cunning to solve her problems, but will she escape these most desperate circumstances? And if Edward finds her, will he still love her now that she has been “disgraced?” At its core, My Heart is the Drum is about finding the inner strength to achieve your goals and create social change.
Gone Astray – For nine years, a Caucasian mother steeped in Roman Catholic rituals has insisted that her abducted child is still alive. Since her daughter’s disappearance, she has frozen herself, her husband and their mentally handicapped son in a changeless state. Now, with the missing girl’s twentieth birthday approaching, a young woman of Native American origins appears at the family’s doorstep, a supposed psychic who is persuaded to recover the lost child. Soon racial and cultural beliefs clash as questions are raised about God, ghosts and the rituals we trust to protect us.
Jennie Redling is a recipient of BMI’s Jerry Harrington Musical Theatre Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement as a Librettist, the national Stanley Drama Award and the Arlene R. and William P. Lewis Playwriting Award for Women. She is the book writer for the musical My Heart Is The Drum (with composer Phillip Palmer and lyricist Stacey Luftig) which received a world premiere at Village Theatre directed by Schele Williams. Drum was developed at the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival of New Musicals (NAMT), the Goodspeed Musicals Johnny Mercer Writer’s Retreat and Kent State University Theatre. A podcast reading of Jennie’s award-winning play, Gone Astray was aired by Pittsburgh’s 12 Peers Theatre in their 2016 Modern Myths New Play Series. Among the theatres where her plays were read or produced are New Jersey Repertory Theatre, Soho Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Mint Theater, Urban Stages, Abingdon Theatre, The Barrow Group and Penguin Repertory Theater.
Jennie was a finalist for the 2016 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater, the Arts & Letters Prize for Drama, the Mildred and Albert Panowski Playwriting Award, the Actors Theatre of Louisville Ten-Minute Play Competition and The O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. Jennie’s monologues and scenes are published in Smith & Kraus’s Audition Arsenal for Women in Their 20′s, Monologues at the Heart of Human Nature Volumes I and II and Scenes from a Diverse World. She is an alumnus of the National Association for Musical Theatre (NAMT) and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, the International Centre for Women Playwrights, AEA and SAG-AFTRA. She is a counselor with the Center for Safety and Change, Rockland County, New York serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.