A Month of Women’s Events at Salem State University

It’s a great month for women’s events at Salem State University Center for the Arts. Crossing many mediums and focuses, these events demonstrate the broader conversations happening in the community and provide an inclusive opportunity for people to learn more about these conversations. From theatre to musical performance to poetry, these events just can’t be missed.

“Women’s voices are important – no, essential – in all discourse, including the creative.” Says Director for the Center for Creative and Performing Arts, Karen Gahagan. “It’s an honor to present the work of a trailblazing playwright like Wendy Wasserstein and have her voice brought to life by a cast of talented young women, guided by their fantastic director – a woman I first met when she was in high school and have watched grow into a powerful artist.

“Women of the World reminds us of the universal power of music and the power of women’s voices around the globe. I get to call Jan O’Neil and Cathy Fahey colleagues but we’ll all get to luxuriate in their exquisite words along with those of the incredible Erika Meitner.

“We end all of this programming with Nicole Zuraitis, a powerhouse singer, songwriter, and pianist whose ‘Generations of Her’ celebrates female songwriters over the last 100 years.  Her program is another reminder of all the shoulders upon which we stand as women artists.”

Click here to see more events happening at Salem State University Center for the Arts, and stay tuned for our feature on events being hosted by the members of Creative Collective as we approach Salem Women’s History Day on March 24th.

Uncommon Women and Others by Wendy Wasserstein

When/Where: Through February 24 at SSU Callan Theater

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Wendy Wasserstein’s debut work took Broadway by storm in 1977. Comprised of a collage of interrelated scenes, the action begins with a reunion, six years after graduation, of five close friends and classmates at Mount Holyoke College. They compare notes on their activities since leaving school and then, in a series of flashbacks, we see them in their college days and learn of the events, some funny, some touching, some bitingly cynical, that helped to shape them.

Wasserstein’s 20-somethings are much like young women today – they are funny and smart, they laugh and discuss relationships, sex and their place in the world. This type of story was unprecedented in the ‘70s and offered a reflection on the cultural transformation around women and their place in society taking place at that time. Visiting this text 40 years later serves as a barometer for how we have and have not progressed.


Women of the World Vocal Quartet

When/Where: February 28, 7:30 pm at SSU Recital Hall

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Formed in 2008, Women of the World has evolved into a sisterhood, as much as it is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning vocal quartet. Representing Japan, Italy, India and USA (by way of Haiti), the four vocalists, Ayumi Ueda, Giorgia Renosto, Annette Philip and Debo Ray perform in 32 of the worlds languages, and counting. The ensemble believes that learning about myriad cultures in the world through song is one of the most powerful ways to gain more understanding about each other. From that understanding, may come acceptance and respect. And from that respect may some day come peace.

Women of the World performs in the Recital Hall located at 71 Loring Ave. on Central Campus. Concert goers may park in the lot across the street from 71 Loring Ave. by the Salem Diner.


Salem State Writers Series: January O’Neil and Erika Meitner with Catherine Fahey

When/Where: March 7, 7:30 pm at SSU Ellison Campus Center

Erika Meitner is the author of five books of poems, including Holy Moly Carry Me (forthcoming in 2018 from BOA Editions), Copia (BOA Editions, 2014), and Ideal Cities (HarperCollins, 2010), which was a 2009 National Poetry Series winner. Her poems have been published in Best American Poetry 2011, Ploughshares, The New Republic, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, Tin House, and elsewhere. She is currently an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she directs the MFA and undergraduate creative writing programs.

January Gill O’Neil is the author of Rewilding (fall 2018), Misery Islands (2014), and Underlife (2009), published by CavanKerry Press. She is an assistant professor of English at Salem State University, and a board of trustees member with the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and Montserrat College of Art. From 2012–2018, she served as executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. A Cave Canem fellow, January’s poems and articles have appeared in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day series, American Poetry Review, New England Review, and Ploughshares, among others. In 2018, January was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant, and is the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence for 2019-2020 at the University of Mississippi, Oxford. She lives with her two children in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Catherine Fahey will open this reading. Fahey is a librarian at Salem State’s Frederick E. Berry Library, and received her MA in English, with a concentration in creative writing, from Salem State in 2018. She has a chapbook forthcoming from Boston Accent Lit, part of their inaugural Boston Uncommon Chapbook Series, titled The Roses that Bloom at the End of the World, and her poems have appeared in many journals, including Three Drops from a Cauldron, Ghost City Review, and The Raven Chronicles.  She is the former managing editor of Soundings East, and is a poetry reader for Mud Season Review


2019 Grammy nominee Nicole Zuraitis – Generations of Her: 100 years of women songwriters and lyricists

When/Where: March 30, 7:30 pm at SSU Recital Hall

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“Nicole Zuraitis’ show titled “Generations of Her” celebrates female songwriters of the last century. Nicole delivers a gorgeous interpretation of song–her voice is spectacular, and her piano chops sublime. Her choices and arrangements blew me away” – Broadway World

Brooklyn based jazz singer, songwriter, pianist and 2019 Grammy nominee Nicole Zuraitis blends her powerful stage presence, clever composition and unparalleled vocals in a package that has thrilled audiences across Manhattan and the world. She is the vocalist for the world famous Birdland Big Band in New York City and her modern jazz album Hive Mind won Best Jazz Album in the 2018 International Music and Entertainment Awards. Her brand new project, Generations of Her: Women Songwriters and Lyricists of the last 100 years has sold out both the Birdland Theater and the Cell Theater in New York within months of its conception. Full of surprises, interesting arrangements and inspiring stories, Generations of Her is an absolute crowd pleaser.

The evening includes a post-concert refreshments with Nicole and her ensemble.


About Salem State University’s Center for the Arts: The Center for the Arts provides diverse, high quality and affordable events in theatre, dance, music, creative writing, and art for all members of the university community and the greater North Shore. We produce nearly 100 events each year including student performances as well as shows by world-class artists and performers. 

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