‘Vivian’s Music, 1969’ Raises Memories of Racial Tensions in the U.S.

Vivian Strong

Monica Bauer’s play “Vivian’s Music, 1969” is inspired by real-life events. These events took place in June 1969, in a segregated Omaha, Nebraska, a city seething with racial tension after a 14-year-old black girl named Vivian Strong was shot by a white cop, igniting one of the worst race riots in American history.

This three-time “Best of” winner at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will be presented at LTV in Wainscott on Saturday, February 29, at 4 p.m. and is produced by Kate Mueth, founder and artistic director of the Neo-Political Cowgirls. Directed by Glory Kadigan, the play stars Kailah S. King and Russell Jordan.

When it came to the real Vivian, no one knew anything about her — just her name, her age, and how she died. This play for two actors gives Vivian a life, a family, a love of music, and a reason to live; the jazz legend who’s back in the neighborhood might be her real father. Can they find each other before the city explodes?  Issues of race and human rights emerge out from history’s shadow to shine on today.

“Vivian’s Music, 1969” is appropriate for students in grades 8 and up, or younger with adult supervision, as there is a light language warning. A panel discussion about race and the local community, moderated by Reverend Kimberly Quinn Johnson, will follow.

Tickets for the show are $20 at ltveh.org.