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Mother Jones in Heaven

Adults $25 / Students $15

Presented by The American Labor Studies Center & Kate Mullany House in celebration of Labor History Month

Mother Jones In Heaven - a musical by Si Kahn reminds audiences how powerful one person can be when in service to collective action and the betterment of others. The topic is as timely today as it was when “Mother” Jones was organizing the working class a hundred years ago. 

Saratoga Springs resident Vivian Nesbitt (Breaking Bad, The Night Shift, Longmire, Off-Broadway and more) portrays Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, with musical accompaniment by her husband John Dillon (Art of the Song Radio) in a rousing musical about the infamous labor organizer who lead the charge for better working conditions and fair pay for miners, mill workers and child laborers. Mother Jones was dubbed The Most Dangerous Woman in America because, said a West Virginia judge, “at the crook of her little finger, she could get 8000 men to walk out on strike.” Feared, revered and lauded in song and story, Mother Jones was “the grandmother of all agitators” during the late 19th and early 20th century. 

This one-woman, one act performance, has one foot in the folk tradition of storytelling and acoustic guitars, and the other in the true American art of musical theater. The show opens as “Mother” Jones arrives in heaven to discover that Heaven is identical to her favorite Irish Pub back down on Earth. Over the course of the 75-minute performance “Mother”Jones looks back over her life, sifting through her storied past, balancing the scales. On the one hand, her methods and practices, on the other, her reputation and results. Moments of profound insight are woven with hilarious tales of a hellion in her prime.

Author Si Kahn has worked for over fifty years as a professional civil rights, labor and community organizer and musician, touring and recording with such artists as Pete Seeger. The seven musicals for which he wrote the songs and/or script have had full productions at the Berkeley, Milwaukee and Tennessee Repertory Theatres; the Goodspeed Opera House’s Norma Terris Theatre; Piccolo Spoleto Fringe in Charleston, SC; Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, AK; Central Square Theatre in Cambridge, MA; the Warehouse Performing Arts Center in Cornelius, NC; the Subversive Theatre Collective in Buffalo, NY; and Main Stage West in Sebastopol, CA.

Known for their work on the nationally syndicated public radio program Art of the Song heard on 120 stations across the country, John and Vivian bring their combined gifts to the stage. John’s musical skills are highlighted on his handmade guitars and harmony vocals.

“Anyone with even an inkling of interest in the history of the American labor movement, or just American history, should see Mother Jones In Heaven. Vivian Nesbitt's dramatic embodiment of “Mother” Jones had me transfixed from start to finish. The musical interludes only heighten the dramatic quality of the play. A thoroughly enjoyable experience.” Doug Born, Pres. Southern Maine Labor Council/Treasurer Maine Chapter AFL-CIO, IATSE member.

The show is currently on tour national tour is sponsored in part by The American Labor Studies Center (ALSC) a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to create, collect and disseminate labor history and labor studies curriculum materials and resources to K-12 teachers nationwide through this web site and via conferences, workshops, seminars and exhibits and to restore the Kate Mullany National Historic Site in Troy, New York where it is located. Paul F. Cole is the Executive Director.

For more information about MOTHER JONES IN HEAVEN visit

Earlier Event: May 12
Tortoise & Hare