Musical chronicling life of Betty Reid Soskin set for Bay Area debut

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Musical chronicling life of Betty Reid Soskin set for Bay Area debut
Betty Reid Soskin (Photo courtesy of Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond)

By Kathy Chouteau

Betty Reid Soskin’s storied 102 years includes time spent as a WWII defense worker, activist, business owner, songwriter, National Park Service park ranger and so much more. Now, the Richmond icon is the subject of a musical based on her incredible life.

Sign My Name to Freedom,” a San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company (SFBATCO) production which will focus on the life, music and writing of Ms. Soskin, will premiere at San Francisco’s Z Space Friday, March 29 and continue through Saturday, April 13. Tickets range from $15–$65 can be purchased online.

The musical is directed by Elizabeth Carter, while playwright Michael Gene Sullivan integrates Ms. Soskin’s own music throughout dialogue between what SFBATCO calls “The Four Bettys,” namely Little Betty, Married Betty, Revolutionary Betty and Ranger Betty, as they progress through a century of experiences of this awe-inspiring American woman.

The cast of “Sign My Name to Freedom” features Tierra Allen as Little Betty, Aidaa Peerzada as Married Betty, Cathleen Riddley as Present Betty Reid Soskin, Lucca Troutman as Revolutionary Betty and Jasmine Milan Williams as Renee, according to Artistic Director Rodney Earl Jackson Jr. and Managing Director Adam Maggio. Other casting will be announced in the future.

Jackson said that having Ms. Soskin’s blessing to steward her life’s story is an honor and career highlight for him and that her journey stands as “a beacon for Black Americans, women and people of color all across the world [and] is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.”

San Francisco’s Z Space is located at 450 Florida St. in San Francisco. Check out the trailer here.