TULSA, Okla. — A production defining not only the Cherokee culture, but the role one woman played in creating peace, will take center stage tonight at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Nanyehi, the story of Nancy Ward, gives a voice to the voiceless. The masterminds behind the production bring a true story to the 21st Century for all to witness.
One of those creatives is Becky Hobbs, who composed the music for the show before putting it to the written word. Each note she wrote tells a story itself.
“It’s about my fifth great grandmother who was a Cherokee war woman turned peacemaker in the 1700s,” Hobbs said.
Nanyehi was a woman before her time, leading the Cherokees to victory after the assassination of her husband, risking her life to make peace. Her story of bravery and courage comes to life on stage through the extraordinary vision of her fifth great-granddaughter, who wrote and composed the production with her friend, Nick Sweet.
“To have all these talented people come together and tell a story that shares a message of hope and peace, that is so important in today’s world,” Hobbs said. “It’s very humbling.”
Humble is the word to describe each person, on and off stage, making Nanyehi unforgettable.
“It is a very spiritual and emotional experience,” Winnie Guess Perdue, actress and dancer, said. “Since I was a child, I have heard of Nanyehi. Stories at the dinner table, beloved woman of the Cherokee nation. Such a high regard person. I feel extremely honored to portray her in any aspect.”
From the acting to the music. The production is top-notch.
“Every night we will say a prayer and pray that our music inspires people,” Duane Sciacqua, conductor and musician, said. “As this progressed it became a labor of love.”
That love goes as deep as every stitch in the cast’s wardrobe.
“The Nanyehi story is a story about all of our past,” Tonia Weavel, costumer, said. “Nancy Ward was extraordinary, but every Cherokee woman had that same vitality about loving their family and wanting to see their children grow strongly.”
This mentality is symbolized in the clothing. Each costume is handmade with a story to tell.
All the moving parts of Nanyehi come together through blood, sweat, and tears, and the outcome is spectacular.
“People come up to us afterward crying,” Hobbs said. “When they leave the show and say they are touched and inspired by this story.”
Nanyehi is playing at the Hard Rock Casino on Oct. 29 -30 at 7:30 p.m. You can purchase tickets here.
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