After her concession speech, Hillary Clinton all but disappeared. Where did she go? How did she cope? What was it like inside her mind? These were the questions that consumed singer-songwriter Rebecca Pronsky in the weeks following Hillary's defeat. Filled with worry for her candidate and devastated from the results of the election, Rebecca found it impossible to move forward or get back to writing music. That is, until she stumbled onto the idea of answering her own questions in Hillary's voice.
Hillary Clinton's Song Cycle: Witness imagines the inner world of Hillary Clinton just after the 2016 election. By turns heartrending and wildly funny, the show follows Hillary’s post-election journey as she abandons, and ultimately regains, hope. Along the way, Hillary goes for walks in the woods, dances barefoot in her living room, commiserates with Kirsten Gillibrand, gets a visit from a Russian troll, and swears like a sailor. Audiences meet the Hillary they never knew: sassy, sarcastic and uncensored!
Creator and star of Witness, Rebecca Pronsky spent 15 years building a solid career in the folk scene, touring relentlessly in both the US and Europe, with her songs appearing in a range of settings from NPR to TV placements on the CW and TLC networks. Her 2013 record was named a Top Ten Country Album of the Year by the UK’s The Telegraph. But, Pronsky’s first love was always musical theatre, and upon writing Witness, she promptly traded her guitar for a piano and her signature cowboy boots for a pantsuit.
Rebecca initially conceived of Witness as a concept album and she assembled an all female band and creative team to work with her on recording the songs. The album was released on November 8, 2017: the one year anniversary of the 2016 election. It was produced, engineered, performed and designed entirely by women. As Witness evolved on stage, Rebecca wrote more music, but the original 7 songs from the album still serve as the backbone of the show.
When Rebecca announced the album, she found that it touched a nerve. Hillary Clinton inspires strong feelings and Rebecca’s fans were no exception. Some felt it was her best work yet. Others wouldn’t even give the record a test listen. Though she faced a growing number of unsubscribes from her email list, Rebecca was undeterred. She knew she was onto something.
Rebecca joined forces with her friend and ally, pianist Deidre Rodman Struck and they began performing Witness live at music venues and political events. New songs, costumes, and dialogue were added and Witness became a full fledged cabaret show. All proceeds from performances were donated to candidates running for office, raising thousands of dollars for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.
With the addition of Director Irene Carroll to the show, Witness was most recently presented as part of Fringe NYC - The NY International Fringe Festival and Charm City Fringe Festival in fall 2018. Rebecca continues her partnership with Deidre Rodman Struck, now Musical Director. Deidre is the perfect foil to Rebecca’s Hillary, with the two musicians playing effortlessly off each other in a whimsical and irreverent spectacle that is also surprisingly poignant. Together, they take audiences on Hillary's turbulent journey through regret, rage, and recovery. Catharsis guaranteed, pantsuit optional.