Nina Simone: Four Women debuts at the Public Theater of San Antonio this week

Heart-wrenching, empowering and true-to-today, the play is a testament to the undeniable political power of artistry.

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click to enlarge Debra Elana stars as Nina Simone in the Public Theater's production. - Mia Isabella Photography
Mia Isabella Photography
Debra Elana stars as Nina Simone in the Public Theater's production.
After the white supremacist bombing at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham took the lives of four young Black girls on Sept. 15, 1963, legendary jazz singer Nina Simone grappled with her grief by writing a series of protest songs.

Her songs "Mississippi Goddam," "Ain't Got No, I Got Life," "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" and "Four Women" became ironclad battle cries for the civil rights movement.

Nina Simone: Four Women
, which makes its regional debut at the Public Theater this month, recounts the brutal aftermath of the Birmingham terrorist attack, accompanied by Simone's soul-stirring musical response to the events that unfolded around her. Alongside Simone (Debra Elana), audiences will become acquainted with three other Black women — Sarah (Danielle King), Sephronia (Stephanie D. Jones) and Sweet Thing (Rebekah Williams) — as they each try to heal the emotional wounds inflicted on them and their community.

Heart-wrenching, empowering and true-to-today, Nina Simone: Four Women is a testament to the undeniable political power of artistry. Special performances of this production include post-show conversation nights on Jan. 29 and Feb. 4, a sensory-friendly performance on Feb. 5, and ASL-interpreted performances on Feb. 10 and 12.

$15-$45, 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20-Feb. 12, The Public Theater of San Antonio, 800 W. Ashby Place, (210) 733-7258, thepublicsa.org.

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