Tag Archives: women

Two Women Who Gave Nietzsche Life

Today we introduce a pair of formidable women: Franziska Nietzsche, Fritz’s mother, and Malwida von Meysenbug, an influential German feminist writer and scholar.

Franziska is played by Sue Caputo and Malwida is played by Kimerer LaMothe (@kimererlamothe, also our librettist/composer!).

Sue Caputo is thrilled to be back at Fort Salem Theater in Nietzsche!. Previous Fort Salem Theater credits (under the prior owners Jay and Lynne Kerr) include The Savanah Disputations, Women in my Life, Forever Plaid (dir/choreo), Getting my Act Together, Corn, Adirondack Awakening, Star-crossed, and Songs of War and Peace. Sue has worked professionally in many theaters in the Eastern Region including Capital Rep’s The Full Monty, M. Butterfly, James Joyce’s The Dead (choreo), Syncopation (choreo), Man of La Mancha (choreo), Boston Marriage (choreo), The Sisters Rosenweig (movement consultant), 33 Variations (movement consultant) and Gypsy (assist. choreographer), as well as various Next Act New Play staged readings including Gino Dilorio’s Crib (Lisa).

Kimerer LaMothe, PhD is the award-winning author of two musicals; six books on dance, philosophy, and religion, and over 100 blog posts for Psychology Today. With Gee, LaMothe has created and performed two solo dance concerts; seven cabaret-style variety shows; and a song cycle based on her fifth book, Why We Dance: A Philosophy of Bodily Becoming (Columbia University Press, 2015). Her musical Happy If Happy When premiered in 2017 at the Fort Salem Theater, and appeared three times in New York City in 2018: the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity (nominated for Outstanding Lyrics and Music); the New York New Works Theatre Festival, and in a 5-show run at the Gene Frankel Theatre. LaMothe earned her doctorate in religion from Harvard University, and has received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions, and two from the Lower Regional Adirondack Arts Council. www.kimererlamothe.com#nietzsche#nietzschethemusical#newmusical#comingsoon#fortsalem#worldpremiere#musicaltheater#composer

Richard Wagner & Cosima Wagner

Make way for the next two cast members — playing the ultimate power couple — Michael Gallagher as the celebrated composer Richard Wagner, and Kyra Gee (@kyra.l.gee) as his influential wife, Cosima Wagner.

Richard and Cosima were close friends and mentors of the Nietzsche siblings until Fritz rejected their anti-Semitic, nationalistic ideologies.Michael takes on two additional roles as a war-weary soldier and as the disgruntled colonist Julius Klingbeil.

Kyra is also the director of our production!

Michael Gallagher has studied voice with Keith Kibler at Williams College for over a decade. He has been the music director of many musicals with the Dorset Players, Long Trail School, and Salem and Granville schools. Michael holds a degree in Music Composition from both Skidmore and Oberlin Colleges, in addition to a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Cincinnati. He has also attended three years of the Lehman Engel Music Theater Workshop in NY as a composer, and is currently in his seventeenth year of being the Music Director at Christ Our Savior Parish in Manchester, VT.

Kyra Gee is a rising senior at Yale University, double majoring in Theater Studies and Evolutionary Biology. She graduated from Granville High School in 2018, and lives with her family in Hebron. Kyra is an avid theatermaker, both on and off the stage. At Yale, she studies voice with Amy Justman, and has participated in shows such as Wakaresaseya (Director), Sweeney Todd (Assistant Director, Toby), Ajax in Iraq (Producer), Mary Jane (Mary Jane), American Idiot (Heather), and Radium Girls (Kathryn/Harriet). Previous show credits at Granville include The Sound of Music (Assistant Music Director, Maria), Little Women (Beth March), Into the Woods (Cinderella), and Peter Pan (Tinker Bell). Kyra has also performed with her family in regional and NYC productions of her parents’ original musical, Happy If Happy When (Eliza).

Reserve tickets today: fortsalem.com/nietzsche#nietzschethemusical#nietzsche#newmusical#fortsalem#comingsoon#wagner#actor#singer#musicaltheater#director#girlboss

Meet our Lou Salome

We next present Erin Kennedy playing the role of Lou Salomé, a free-thinking and fiercely independent intellectual—and the woman Nietzsche loved.

Erin is a NYC-based soprano whose classical training and contemporary interpretations make her equally at home in musical theater and opera. In 2020, she performed in the premiere of PIETÀ, a companion to Suor Angelica; she went on to sing Genovieffa in both operas this summer at the 2021 Narnia International Vocal Arts Festival in Narni, Italy. Erin recently graduated from Williams College, where she was a winner of the Berkshire Symphony Soloist competition and appeared as Adele (Die Fledermaus), Servilia (La Clemenza di Tito), and Rapunzel (Into the Woods). She teaches private voice and piano, and studies with Andrea DelGiudice. erinkennedysoprano.com

#nietzsche #nietzschethemusical #fortsalem #newmusical #comingsoon #lousalome #leadinglady #actor #soprano #crossover

Introducing Elisabeth Nietzsche

Next up in our cast introductions is a second member of the Nietzsche family — Fritz’s younger sister Elisabeth. Hannah Gruendemann plays this smart and determined woman who seizes the opportunity to shape Nietzsche’s legacy and achieve personal prestige through her alliances with the rising anti-Semitic German nationalist movement.

Hannah is a singer, actress, and composer based in New England. An alto who sings classical to contemporary, musical theater to chamber choir, she recently graduated from Williams College, where she performed musical theater roles such as Marya Dmitriyevna (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1912) and Mrs. Anderssen (A Little Night Music), and opera roles such as Sesto (La Clemenza di Tito), Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus). Her compositions have premiered at N.E.O. Voice Festival, I/O New Music Festival, and Williams College. Hannah is in the midst of composing a new musical.

The Women in his Life (Why Write a Musical about Nietzsche? Part 2)

“However far man may extend himself with his knowledge, however objective he may appear to himself—ultimately he reaps nothing but his own biography.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human (#513)

Friedrich (Fritz) Nietzsche wrote that people’s values and beliefs are informed by their personal, bodily existence; philosophy is always, to some extent, autobiography.

His own work is no exception, especially when it comes to women.

Fritz’s written remarks about women are often cryptic, and range from seemingly backwards and misogynistic, on the one hand, to perceptive and even progressive on the other. Not surprisingly, his actual relationships with women were… complicated.

Our musical tells Fritz’s story as a series of flashbacks that occur in the midst of a heated argument between two of these women: Lou Salomé, a Russian intellectual, and Elisabeth Nietzsche, Fritz’s younger sister. Fritz loved both of these women, and they each loved him. Yet they couldn’t stand one another. Each was convinced that the other completely misunderstood both the man and his work. The dynamics that unfolded between them during and after Fritz’s life shaped his legacy – and precipitated the need for this musical.

Lou. Fritz met Lou when he was 36. She was 21, newly emigrated from Russia, and keen to study theology and philosophy. After a few meetings – marked by intense philosophical banter – Fritz proposed to Lou, once, twice, and maybe even three times. Each time she said no. Lou wanted to live an independent life as an intellectual. Instead she invited Fritz to share lodgings with her and a third man, Paul Rée, as part of a literary salon. Fritz said yes.

Elisabeth. At the time, Elisabeth, Fritz’s younger sister by two years, was 34, unmarried, enamored of her brother, and horrified by Lou’s casual freedoms. Elisabeth took it upon herself to sabotage the trio’s plans. She wrote toxic letters to Fritz, Lou, Paul, Paul’s mother, Fritz’s mother, and others, decrying Lou as an evil, immoral opportunist.

Not only did Elisabeth succeed in her aim, over the following two years, she fell in love with Bernhard Forster, an avid anti-Semite, and moved to Paraguay to found a colony for the pure German race. In large part due to her actions, the German nationalists began to consider Fritz as one of them. He was horrified.

After Fritz went insane, Elisabeth returned from Paraguay to take over her ailing brother’s estate, and allied his books with the nationalist agenda he abhorred.

Two years later, Lou wrote and published the first intellectual biography of Friedrich Nietzsche, determined to counter the barrage of misunderstandings and “fake news” that had begun to circulate about his life and his work.

Yet, the more I read about these two women, the more I realized that the story of their relationship is not just a quarrel over a man’s heart – or his legacy. Fritz’s bond with each of these women was fundamental – even constitutive – of his philosophical project. Each relationship was a source of both profound joy and heart-crushing sadness. Each of these women provided Fritz with the occasion and the desperate need to articulate and commit himself yet again to the most enduring theme of his philosophy: his radical love for life.

How did he do it?

The question drives this musical. In the face of loss and betrayal, how did Fritz manage his own turns of affirmation – how did he say yes to his own life? And how should we?

What better way to address these questions than by evoking the matrix of personal relationships out of which his philosophy grew, using the full sensory complement of word, song, and dance?