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BWW Previews: Music City Theatre Company's VAGINA MONOLOGUES

Bradley Moore and Elizabeth Turner direct a cast of Nashville actresses in The Vagina Monologues next week. Among the actresses featured in the cast are Susan Adkins, Heather Vaughn Alexander, McKenna Driver, Lisa Fults, Savannah Hall, Jessica Hausberger, Aubrey Iwan, Karen Kirby, Amie Lara, Julia Nettles, Terry Occhiogrosso, Sarah Shepherd, Memory Strong, Mindy Tolbert and Elizabeth Turner.

Music City Theatre Company will present Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues at Vibe Entertainment Complex Thursday, February 12 through Saturday, February 14, with a 7:30 p.m. curtain each night.

Several of the talented, outspoken women in the cast shared some personal thoughts about the changing roles of women in our society, the great strides they've witnessed in their own lifetimes and, perhaps most importantly, shared some of their favorite names for their vaginas. As a vagina novice, I must admit I was intrigued. Perhaps you will be as well...


Elizabeth Turner

What woman in American history would you most like to change places with for one day? It's a tie between Madeline Kahn and Tina Fey. Funny ladies are the best.

In your lifetime, what's been the biggest advancement for women that you have witnessed? During my day job, I work for a research institution, and the majority of up-and-coming grad students and post-docs who cross my path are female. What I also love is the fact that a lot of these women are also wives and young mothers - they didn't have to give up their career ambitions to have a family, or vice versa.

What word do you use for your vagina? (I find that every woman has her own favorite, so share yours...) When I was little, I called it a "gaga." Nowadays, whenever I hear excessive references to Lady Gaga, it makes me the slightest bit uncomfortable.

What American woman do you most admire? Dolly Parton. She came from very modest beginnings, but she knew she had talent and worked her way up through a "man's business" to get to where she is now. She's a successful, well-respected businesswoman who never misses an opportunity to give back to others and share happiness, kindness, and love with the world around her.

Sarah Shepherd

What woman in American history would you most like to change places with for one day? I would most like to trade places with Marilyn Monroe. I know that sounds cliché, but I really admire her inner strength and her views on life in general, despite her struggles to obtain success in an industry dominated by men.

In your lifetime, what's been the biggest advancement for women that you have witnessed? I think the entertainment industry has really been a huge source for the advancements for women. We are seeing more and more women becoming successful and speaking out about various issues ranging from bullying to domestic violence to breast cancer (to name a few). The entertainment industry and the media coverage of that industry have made feminine voices heard more loudly than ever before. We've seen Katy Perry roar and Lady Gaga tell the world to love who they are, even if it does not fit in to societal norms. We've seen Michelle Obama speak out about the importance of being healthy and fit, and Ellen DeGeneres speak about equality. There are many more examples, but I think that illustrates my point. It's our time to be heard.

What do you call your own personal vagina? You know, when I was younger, I loved to sleep over at my grandmother's house. We would tell stories and have tea. When it was time to get ready for bed, I would take a bath and she would run my bath water and hand me a towel and say "be sure to wash your sally." It's silly, I know, but that's the only name that really comes to mind now.

Who's your most admired American? I don't know that I can say there is a specific woman that I admire the most. I admire any woman who is strong enough in her belief in herself to be independent, whether it's emotional, mental, financial or physical independence, and be able to love herself for who she is despite the world around her. There will always be someone who wants to bring you down. Just keep looking up.

Heather Alexander

What American woman would you most like to change places with for one day? Eleanor Roosevelt.

What's been the biggest advancement for women that you have witnessed during your lifetime? New, safe, birth control methods are being developed all the time. I have been lucky to have had access and availability to many methods, as the Pill did not work well for me (I had two kids while on birth control pills and they made me sick besides). Being able to finally control my fertility was a godsend when I finally found the right method. I have always said that I feel incredibly blessed to have been born as a woman in the time and place that I was. That being said, one of the most alarming trends I see right now is a backlash against birth control, against seeing it as basic reproductive care, restricting women's access to it, fighting NOT to have it covered by insurance. I still find it astounding that women still have to go to court about issues even my mother thought were settled years ago.

What American woman do you most admire? Depends on what issue I'm currently fired up about. Right now, Margaret Sanger. Also Gabby Giffords.

Julia Marie Nettles

What woman would you most like to change places with for one day? Ella Fitzgerald.

What's been the biggest advancement for women that you have witnessed during your lifetime? Madeleine Albright appointed Secretary of State, the first woman to hold the job.

What American woman do you most admire? Julia Mae Nettle, my grandmother, was the first African American person to work in management at Western Electric.

Mindy Tolbert

What woman in American would you most like to change places with for one day? I would choose Amelia Earhart. As the first female to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, she also became a voice for woman all across the country. "Woman, like men, should try to do the impossible. When they fail, their failures should be a challenge to others," Amelia Earhart.

In your lifetime, what's been the biggest advancement for woman that you have witnessed? I have seen woman steadily begin to earn more money in the work place. We have been armed with more educational opportunities and greater labor force participation. Our hourly wages have increased tremendously over the last 30 years.

What do you call your vagina? My Chachy...because it likes to dance!

What American woman do you most admire? My Mema. No, you don't know my Mema, but if you had met her, you would understand why she is my choice. She embodied every quality I could ever hope to possess as a woman; loving, selfless, independent, motivated, generous and funny. The perfect woman, if ever there was such a thing. If I am ever half the woman she was, I will be doing alright.

Lisa Fults

What woman in American history would you most like to change places with for one day? I don't know that I would like to change places with her but I would like to have met Eleanor Roosevelt.

In your lifetime, what's been the biggest advancement for women that you have witnessed? Title 9.

What do you call your vagina? Growing up we always called it a vagina as my parents wanted us to use the proper term. I guess now I don't really call it anything because I know where and what it is!

What American woman do you most admire? Helen Keller.

Amie Lara

What woman in American history would you most like to change places with for one day? I have to pick just one? Amelia Earhart for the spirit she embodied. She set out to soar.

In your lifetime, what's been the biggest advancement for women that you have witnessed? I would have to say that the desire for independence and obtaining a better education would be at the top of the list. I think that women are beginning to see that they don't need a man in their lives (or any significant other for that matter) to be complete. We no longer have to put our lives on hold just because we may have children, or perhaps our lives don't fit that "cookie cutter" mold. For me personally, that is the best feeling of all. Independence.

What word do you use for your vagina? This was one of the harder questions to answer ironically enough. There have been several. When I was child, my mom called it a T-Nonny (She pronounced it T-Nunny with her southern Atlanta accent). In performing arts high school, we called it a nya-nya, with the emphasis on the ya. However, I find that the more demure description "privates" is what I have used with my children.

What American woman do you most admire? Sandra Day O' Connor. I have had the opportunity to hear her speak and I found her remarks and stories to be refreshingly salty at times. I believe she deserves respect for being the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Karen Kirby

What American woman would you most like to change places with for one day? I would pick Rosa Parks because not only did she stand up for what she believed in, she actually got to live to see what her actions did to change the course of history. I would love to experience how that feels.

What's been the biggest advancement for women that you have witnessed in your lifetime? Women are getting promoted more in the corporate world. If my mom was my age now and had just finished her masters, I think she would have gotten further in her career.

So what do you call your own, private vagina? I don't kiss and tell.

What American woman do you most admire? Ellen Degeneres because she has always stayed true to who she is regardless of what other people think.

Susan Adkins

What woman in American history would you most like to change places with for one day? Amelia Earhart. I want to know where in the heck she went!

In your lifetime, what's been the biggest advancement for women that you have witnessed? I believe the advances of women in the workplace have changed women's lives in the most profound way. I started working in the 1970s for a big corporation, so I experienced first-hand some of the discriminations against women in the workplace. Now women can truly apply for any job in the workplace and not have to deal with questions such as "do you plan to have children while working?" "How often do you take off work for your time of the month?" "Why do you want a job if your husband works?" I was passed over for positions in favor of men because they had to "provide for their families," or I might quit to have a baby, or decide to become a housewife. And the old joke that women have to do twice the work that men do in half the time to get any recognition, it was really true. Also, women were not offered the same benefits as men. When I had my first child, I had health insurance but because it was a single plan, and even though I was married, I had no maternity coverage. Only men with family coverage had maternity care for their wives. Women today have just as many opportunities as men and it's because of the changes that started in the 1970's that made it possible.

What do you call your vagina? I don't talk to it much anymore, but I called it my "peepee" when I was a kid. When I was married my husband and I discussed my "hoohoo" every so often. I honestly don't remember every calling it by its real name.

Savannah Hall

What do you call your vagina? I don't have a specific word that I always use for my vagina, but my favorite of the ones I typically use is probably vajayjay.

What American woman do you most admire? The American woman I most admire is Rosa Parks.

Eve Ensler's iconic The Vagina Monologues is made of monologues that deal with various aspects of the feminine experience, touching on matters such as sex, love, rape, menstruation, female genital mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm, the various common names for the vagina, or simply as a physical aspect of the body. A recurring theme throughout the piece is the vagina as a tool of female empowerment, and the ultimate embodiment of individuality.

"From hilarious to touching to heartfelt, The Vagina Monologues will make you run the gambit of emotions and definitely leave a lasting impression," according to co-directors Bradley Moore and Elizabeth Turner.

All performances of Music City Theatre Company's The Vagina Monologues are Pay-What-You Can, with a suggested donation of $10; all proceeds will go to YWCA of Nashville. Tickets are available at www.mctc.ticketleap.com.

There is open seating for all performances at Vibe Entertainment Complex, 1713 Church Street, Nashville. Doors open at 7 p.m., and a full cash bar will be available prior to and during the show. Audience members are urged to arrive early to secure the best seats.


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From This Author Jeffrey Ellis