KINGSPORT, Tenn. - You're invited to be a part of history by playing a part in a musical that will make its Tennessee premiere in Kingsport in October.
The musical is called "Nanyehi: Beloved Woman of the Cherokee."
She was beloved because she was the peacemaker for the Cherokee and made one of her most famous speeches on Long Island in Kingsport in 1781.
Her fifth-generation granddaughter is in town to help get the production started..
Singer, songwriter, composer and playwright Becky Hobbs looks over the stage of the Allandale amphitheater with Kingsport Theatre guild director Tina Ratkie. Thursday evening there will be a special reading of "Nanyehi: Beloved Woman of the Cherokee," a two-act musical about one of the most important women in early American history
The name given to her by early settlers was Nancy Ward. "I'm descended from Nancy Ward through all females. My mother knew her family history from the get-go. When I was a little bitty girl in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, my mom always told me, "Becca, you know you're a direct descendent of Nancy Ward, Beloved Woman of the Cherokee," Hobbs said.
She visited Kingsport and Long Island five years ago on the very ground where her grandmother made a call for peace with the settlers in 1781. "It meant so much to me to walk the very land that Nancy Ward gave her most famous speech. "Our cry is all for peace. Let your mothers sons be ours. Our sons be yours." It means a lot," she said.
That history and the stories she heard moved her to write a two-act musical about her grandmother and the struggles of the Cherokee people, and now she wants Kingsport people to be part of it. "Even in this area, a lot of people are becoming more and more aware of her. She's portrayed in a lot of the local stage productions around here, which is great. She's now in the history books, even in grade school, in the state of Tennessee," Hobbs says.
It's a chance to learn about the important history that's taken place along the Holston River and this special place sacred to the Cherokee called Long Island.
The special reading will be held Thursday evening at 7:30 at the amphitheater at Allandale. Auditions will be held all day Friday for the October production.