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Downtown Arts to Present THE WAISTMAKERS' OPERA at University Settlement for Lower East Side History Month, 5/21-23

Downtown Art's alt rock opera The Waistmakers' Opera celebrates the young women who led 'The Uprising of the 20,000', a landmark strike by garment workers in 1909. A remarkable event, the strike brought together women from all classes and backgrounds, became front page news.

Their fiercest foe was the Triangle Factory, whose owners organized and led factory bosses in refusing to make concessions or acknowledge the new union. The uneasy alliance of wealthy women and radical socialists supporting the strikers began to unravel and after a bitter struggle the young women went back to work, only partially successful.

Fifteen months later a fire raged through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. 146 workers, mostly young women, died. Now the call, fueled by grief and anger, galvanized action. Together the strike and the fire changed the course of labor history in the U.S.

The Waistmakers' Opera tells the story of the strike through song. An all female company, ages 15-26, performs all the parts. For the first time, the opera will be performed live and indoors at University Settlement, the oldest settlement house on the Lower East Side.

The Waistmakers' Opera is composed by Michael Hickey, with lyrics and direction by Ryan Gilliam. The cast features Paige Acevedo, Cassidy Dawn Graves, Kara Green, Gihee Hong, Ruth Ipince, Joyce Laoagan, Madison McGhee, Hila Nauss, Hannah No, Sadah Proctor, Ariel Rosen-Brown, Amy Secunda, Umi Shakti, Hadley Todoran, and Kelsey Watts. Nick Salgo, Steve Castineiras, and Michael Hickey are the musicians.

Performances are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, May 21 - 23 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at

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