In Memphis, Tennessee, we meet the first all-girl radio station, WGAL. It’s 1955 and the jockettes are making radio for women from their studio, the Doll Den. But as time marches forward the shtick gets old and the women want more. What happens when an all-women's station is so good that men start listening? Inspired by real events, Welcome to the Doll Den tells a story about masks, identity, and the cost of success.
“Welcome to the Doll Den is a truly beautiful show that instills us with hope for constant progress, and reminds us of the hardship of those who came before.” — Theatre Is Easy
“This is a product with plenty of potential to eventually reach Broadway, the circuit and even the silver screen.” — Opplaud
Book by Sarah Plotkin and the ensemble
Music by Emily Johnson-Erday and Rev. Yolanda
Lyrics by Joshua Langman
The ensemble: Evelyn Dumont, Emily Johnson-Erday, Elena Kritter, Lizzy Ana Lincoln, Alana S. Thomas, Rev. Yolanda
Director: Sarah Plotkin
Music director and lead composer: Emily Johnson-Erday
Composer: Rev. Yolanda
Dramaturg: Julia Corrigan
Arranger and accompanist: Ethan Ness
Producer: Lizzy Ana Lincoln for Electric Eye Ensemble
Additional collaborators: Elsa Dial, Jazelle Foster, Cassagnol Leonidas Jr., Clarissa Marie Ligon, Olivia Luna, Leah Ogawa
Director Sarah Plotkin on the creation process:
“I was shocked that I had never heard about this station before. These women were not just innovators, but feminists in the deepest sense of the word. They worked every day for almost twenty years to chip away at the notion that women's voices and points of view did not belong on the radio. But when I first started immersing myself in their story, I found their actions didn’t always feel very feminist from my 21st century perspective. They called themselves ‘girls’ on air, waved and smiled from the back of convertibles in parades, and decorated their studio in lingerie. What I’ve learned from working on this material is that all of these things were necessary in order for them to succeed. And that the concept of success can appear in many different forms.” Read Sarah’s full letter
Be good and you’ll be happy.
Welcome to the Doll Den was developed through a staged reading at The Drama League in August 2017, a residency and workshop production at The Tank in February 2017, a work-in-progress production at Dixon Place in June 2016, and a Rough Draft Residency at The Drama League in June 2016. See information on past productions.
Subsidized studio space provided by the A.R.T./New York Creative Space Grant, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.