Musical 'sneak peek' explores Jeannette Rankin’s life and legacy

Cory Walsh

Jeannette Rankin, the suffragist, pacifist, Missoula resident and first woman elected to Congress, is receiving the historical musical treatment.

“We Won’t Sleep,” a work in progress, tracks her life in the years from 1916 to 1920. Creator Ari Afsar, a cast member from the Chicago run of “Hamilton,” found Rankin’s story fascinating (and “badass”) but not widely known.

“Why is that erasure happening?” Afsar asked. “And why do we not know who this woman is? And yet, I can list off the amount of forefathers, right?”

She’s not, however, trying to tell the whole of Rankin’s life, and “We Won’t Sleep” is not a biopic. It will attempt to cover her pioneering life and legacy, contradictions and all.

“Every win that one may have in their life is also met with a lot of struggle and trauma and obstacles that come along with that,” Afsar said.

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The sneak peek is showing one night only, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, in the Masquer Theatre at the University of Montana. Tickets are available through the “pick what you pay” system to make theater more accessible for all. Head

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