Kingsport Theatre Guild is excited to present their “Kingsport Centennial Celebration” production of Nanyehi: The Story of Nancy Ward, which will be performed October 20-29 at the Kingsport Renaissance Arts Center & Theatre.
This performance is significant because it takes place in our own backyard. The story is set in Kingsport where Nancy Ward (Nanyehi) served as an ambassador, negotiator and the last beloved woman of the Cherokee.
In 2014, we performed this musical to sold out crowds. We are anticipating more than 2,000 audience members, many of whom will come from out-of-town and even out-of-state to visit Kingsport.
Nanyehi, also known as Nancy Ward, roamed this very land during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. She lived in what is now Monroe County, Tennessee, and gave a speech on Long Island at the Holston River in 1781. When Ward’s husband was killed in a 1755 battle with the Creek Indians, she took up his rifle and helped lead the Cherokee to victory. Because of this, she was honored as a war woman and headed the women’s council of her tribe. This was a very significant honor, as women led Cherokee society. She was given power that not even the chiefs possessed. Even so, Ward was a strong believer in peace and strived to live in harmony with the European settlers that had colonized the area. Ward saved several lives in her lifetime, both European and Cherokee, and even prevented a full-scale massacre at a European settlement. This story would never have been told without the help of Ward’s fifth-great-granddaughter, Becky Hobbs.
Hobbs is the composer and co-playwright of Nanyehi. She started writing songs at 9 years of age in her hometown, Bartlesville, OK. When she was 15, she started what has now been documented as the first all-female rock band in the state of Oklahoma. Her songs have been recorded by Alabama, Conway Twitty, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Glen Campbell, Emmylou Harris, Helen Reddy, The Cherokee National Youth Choir, Demi Lovato, and many more. Her song “Angels Among Us,” recorded by Alabama, has been used by numerous charities throughout the world. As a recording artist, she’s had over 20 chart singles/albums, including “Jones on the Jukebox,” “Are There Any More
Like You (Where You Came From),” and Top Ten duet with Moe Bandy, “Let’s Get Over Them Together.” Known for her high-energy shows, the Beckaroo has performed in over 40 countries. In 2015 Becky was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. Her husband, Duane Sciacqua, helped write the play and also serves as the musical producer. Sciacqua is a notable guitarist of over 30 years and has played alongside the likes of Joe Walsh (Eagles) and Paul McCartney (The Beatles).
Kingsport Theatre Guild is overjoyed to be able to present this piece of local history to the community. You can find out more about the show at Nanyehi.com and purchase tickets at www.KingsportTheatre.org.