If A Door Opens: A Journey With Frances Perkins is a theatrical tribute to an extraordinary woman. Frances Perkins is one of the most important women of the 20th Century, but sadly not many people know who she is. Her name should be a household name, but it is not. She worked tirelessly to improve working conditions in America during the early part of the 20th Century and eventually became the first woman Cabinet member under Franklin Roosevelt. As Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor, she was an architect of New Deal legislation and was responsible for the passage of the Social Security Act. At the time of her death in 1965, Secretary of Labor William Wirtz said, “Every man and woman who works for a living wage, under safe conditions, for reasonable hours, or is protected by unemployment compensation of Social Security is her debtor.”
The play is a history lesson, but according to Willliam Kerns, Arts and Entertainment editor for the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, “I did not expect this particular history lesson to have been injected with so much life and passion.
Indeed, by the time Keefe recreates memories of conflicts and conversations, stipulations and accusations, patrons know much more about Perkins’ accomplishments as the power standing behind the figurative throne of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. “If a Door Opens” is an often fascinating, and always wonderfully acted, theatrical tribute.
Those attending will leave having been both educated and entertained.” To read the entire review go to http://lubbockonline.com/entertainment/2013-01-26/keefe-delivers-wonderful-performance-enlightening-tribute
If you missed the Taos or Santa Fe performance, you have another chance to see the theatrical tribute to Frances Perkins. The play takes the audience on a journey with Frances Perkins as she becomes one of the most influential U. S. Cabinet member in the history of the United States.
Next performance will be in Dixon, New Mexico at The Toolshed, July 26. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Frances Perkins Center Newsletter
“If your clothes budget has been cut down and you buy bargain dresses, it is only fair you should know who pays part of your bill – the women who made the dress.”
As Frances Perkins noted in her February 1933 essay, The Cost of a Five-Dollar Dress, cheap clothes come at the cost of fair working conditions. After two recent tragedies in Bangladeshi textile factories, companies, consumers, and the local government may finally be mobilizing to change. Reforms currently being considered include allowing unions to organize and raising the minimum wage, currently at only $38 a month.
We encourage people to remember Perkins’ words: “In our industrial civilization, legislation to safeguard the health of the worker not only against excessive hours of work but also against a less-than-subsistence wage is socially necessary. It is important to the community, as well as to the employee, that men and women be protected against ‘starvation wages.’”
Performances of If A Door Opens at Teatro Paraguas in Santa Fe are May 17-19. For more information click on the Tours tab. I have the privilege of being a guest on the Santa Fe Radio Cafe with host Mary-Charlotte sometime during the week of May 13. The program airs at 8:05 weekdays on KSFR 101.1 FM. I am excited about this wonderful opportunity to talk about Frances Perkins and her incredible legacy.
Today is the birthday of Fannie Coralie Perkins (aka Frances Perkins). She was born April 10, 1880. That means she was an Aires. Aires are leaders, the first to get things going, and insurmountable odds don’t bother them. They are pioneers in thought and action. These attributes certainly fit Frances Perkins.
Happy Birthday to the first woman cabinet member of the United States and the architect of the Social Security Act and more.
Today, March 30, is the anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment. On March 30, 1870 African-American men were granted the right to vote. The amendment reads, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote was ratified August 18, 1920.
March is Women’s History Month. March 3 was the 100th anniversary of suffragists’ march on Washington. Before women had the right to vote, Frances Perkins worked tirelessly as a New York Consumer’s League lobbyist. She was instrumental in getting New York’s 54-hour bill passed which set a maximum of a 54-hour work week for women and children who worked in factories. Click on “About Frances Perkins” for more information about this remarkable woman. Go to womenshistorymonth.gov for more information about Women”s History Month.
Angelo Civic Theatre in San Angelo, Texas has booked If A Door Opens for June 7 and possibly June 8. Thanks to Linda Shoemaker and Liz Starnes for making this happen. Check out their website, angelocivictheatre.com.