‘Perfect 36 – The Vote That Changed America’

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We’ve raised $36,150 of our $40,000 goal.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.”   – Harriet Tubman

Women. Voting Rights. Race. Activism. Change.
It all came together in Nashville. In 1920.

Following a successful reading in Nashville at The Hermitage Hotel this past January, TPAC is continuing the development of Perfect 36, with staged readings in New York on Wednesday, July 18, at 3:00 p.m. and Thursday, July 19, at 12:00 noon. Perfect 36 will be presented to the New York Broadway industry as it makes its way to stages beyond Nashville in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment in 2020.

Be a part of this important conversation that celebrates a woman’s voice – the right to vote – as Perfect 36 begins its artistic journey to audiences in Nashville and other great US cities! Your donation just might influence women of the future.

Perfect 36

Suffragist march New York City, 1917

Perfect 36 is a musical that tells the story of Tennessee’s struggle to pass the 19th Amendment, making a woman’s right to vote legal. Originally created in 1996, TPAC is working with the creative team to remount a new production with a newly revised script and score.

The ratification process came to its incredible finish in Nashville, Tennessee. Our story is based on the events leading up to and including the historic vote. History gave us all the drama and humor a musical could ever hope for.

And, it almost didn’t happen.

By the summer of 1920, only two states remained in the process to approve the 19th Amendment that would grant women the right to vote: Delaware and Tennessee. Strong resistance to the amendment in the southern states led to a presumption that Delaware would supply the 36th state needed to achieve a three-fourths majority of states and complete the ratification process.

But, American politics has never been a model of predictability, and in the heat of late summer in 1920 the Governor of Tennessee called a special session of the state legislature for what would become a display of both the dysfunction and beauty of American democracy. Tennessee suddenly became history’s eye of the needle for women’s suffrage in America. It is in this context that Perfect 36 takes place.

TPAC is committed to helping to bring to life new and existing works of art by Tennessee artists, those who create their art in Tennessee, and by those who create art about Tennessee.

All forms of existing art have had to go through the expensive and rigorous developmental process of refining and revising the work before it’s ready for the public to share and enjoy.

For musical theatre, it’s extremely expensive – and risky – involving the services and talents of so many creative people: writers, composers, directors, musical directors, performers, musicians, set designers, wardrobe designers, sound designers, and more.

So we must look for support from those who have a belief and passion that musical theatre has the power to convey important messages – messages from diverse voices that can contribute to an important, necessary, and timely dialogue.

Creating art is a journey.

We, at TPAC, want to make the journey for an artist much easier.

Mac Pirkle

Mac Pirkle

Producer, Director
A 45-year veteran of theatre, film, and video, Mac founded three theatres, including Tennessee’s largest and most successful regional theatre company, Nashville Rep (formerly Tennessee Repertory Theatre), producing and directing over 65 major theatre productions. After 25 years in theatre, Mac moved into film & video in 2001, bringing the same creative drive and energy into a whole new creative field. He joined forces with David Earnhardt in 2001, and their company, Earnhardt Pirkle, Inc., produced film, video and event productions for a wide variety of nonprofit and corporate clients. Winner of and ACE Cable Award, numerous Telly Awards, a Parthenon Award, and a Gold Pen Award, Mac is now the CEO of Creative Communications, LLC, an award-winning media production and communications company – “helping people see things differently” – and the President of Southern Stage Productions, Inc., a 30-year-old theatre production company whose production of The Nutty Professor musical had its pre-Broadway, world premiere in Nashville at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in the summer of 2012, directed by Jerry Lewis, with music by Marvin Hamlisch, and book and lyrics by Rupert Holmes.
Laura Harrington

Laura Harrington

Book and Lyrics
Award-winning playwright, lyricist, and librettist, winner of the 2008 Kleban Award for “most promising librettist in American Musical Theatre,” has written dozens of plays, musicals, operas and radio plays which have been produced in 28 states, Canada and Europe, in venues ranging from Off-Broadway to Houston Grand Opera to the Paris Cinemateque. Harrington has twice won both the Massachusetts Cultural Council Award in playwriting and the Clauder Competition for best new play in New England. Additional awards include a Boston IRNE Award for Best New Play, a Bunting Institute Fellowship at Harvard/ Radcliffe, a Whiting Foundation Grant-in-Aid, the Joseph Kesselring Award for Drama, a New England Emmy, and a Quebec Cinemateque Award. A Catalog of Birds, her second novel, published by Europa in 2017, has been praised by The Washington Post, CONSEQUENCE literary magazine and others. Alice Bliss, (Penguin/ Viking) her first novel, widely acclaimed in print and online and a Boston Globe bestseller, won the 2012 Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction. 
Mel Marvin

Mel Marvin

Six shows on Broadway – including Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Yentl, Christopher Durang’s A History of the American Film, Tintypes (for which he was nominated for two Tony awards), and, most recently How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Grinch has been on a seasonal national tour since Broadway in 2007, playing scores of venues, including Madison Square Garden and the Grand Ole Opry. He has also had 11 shows Off-Broadway, and he has served as composer or director of scores of productions in most of America’s regional theatres, including Lincoln Center Theater, Arena Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, American Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage Company, Berkeley Rep, and the Mark Taper Forum, where he composed the original music for the first full production of both parts of Angels in America. Among many other produced musical theater works are Joan of Arc and Perfect 36, both written with Laura Harrington; Great Expectations, written with John Jakes; Elmer Gantry, written with Bob Satuloff and John Bishop; and two operas, Guest from the Future and Buwalsky: A Road Opera, both written with Jonathan Levi. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Theatre Communications Group, as well as a consultant in the arts for the Rockefeller Foundation and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. He has won Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award, the Gilman-Gonzalez Award, 3 National Endowment grants, 2 AT&T grants, and an honorary PhD. He is Head Faculty Composer of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. 

It was less than 100 years ago when women won the right to vote. Now is the moment for Perfect 36 to become part of the national conversation about women’s rights. Your financial support will give us the resources we need to produce a staged reading of the new script and score for the New York industry. We need to raise $40,000 to pay honorariums to the artists and musicians, venue rental, insurance, travel expenses, copying of the script and score, and other expenses associated with the rehearsals and readings.

Perfect 36

From the song, “A Woman’s Voice”

An invited audience will experience ­performers and musicians sharing the script and score in an informal setting – a staged reading – with no sets, no costumes, no lights. All donations of $1,000 and above include an invitation for two to the July 18 (3:00 p.m.) and July 19 (12:00 noon) staged readings in New York. Donors will receive an invitation with a link to RSVP.

What’s a staged reading?

A staged reading is a form of theatre without sets or full costumes. The actors, who read from scripts, may be seated, standing in fixed positions, or incorporate minimal stage movement. Music is sung, accompanied by live musicians, and a narrator may read stage directions aloud. Staged readings are produced with a director, musical director, composer, lyricist, and a book writer as part of the creative team. This is an important process in the development of any new or remounted work.

Donations for the development of Perfect 36 are not considered investments in the project and all donor benefits are limited to those offered through TPAC’s Annual Campaign (see Donor Benefits).