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In an Election Year, ‘Suffs’ Takes a Political Battle to Broadway

Shaina Taub was ready to watch Hillary Clinton win in November 2016. She had been at Harvard, doing research for an ambitious musical about the women’s suffrage movement, and was swept up in what felt like the inevitable: a woman elected president of the United States. Taub had traveled to New York City from Cambridge for election night, eager to cheer on Clinton, whom she had phone banked for.

But Clinton lost, and Taub was utterly deflated. Returning to Cambridge to work on a show about triumphant women was the last thing she wanted to do. Yet, it was Clinton who reignited that fire in Taub with a concession speech in which she implored “all the little girls” to never doubt that they are “deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve” their dreams.

Now, after years of development and an Off Broadway run at the Public Theater in 2022, “Suffs” is scheduled to open on April 18 at the Music Box Theater on Broadway, with Clinton making her debut as a producer. (The team backing the show also includes Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner.)

“Many of the themes resonate with me personally,” Clinton said in a phone interview, “given my own life and career, including the tension between the so-called establishment and activist voices.”

“I’ve been on both sides of that debate,” she continued. “And the larger lesson that’s in the score — that ‘progress is possible, but not guaranteed,’ and ‘the future demands that we fight for it now’ — I resonate so strongly with that.”

In addition to Clinton and Taub, some of the “Suffs” cast and creative team recalled their first time voting, and shared their thoughts about what suffrage means to them.

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