About the Troupe

It’s All Right To Be Woman Theatre

Performers, Pioneers, Activists, Creators: The Personal Is Political

From 1970 – 1976 It’s All Right To Be Woman Theater inspired audiences as they performed in non-traditional performance spaces in New York City, and traveled to women’s centers, colleges and universities and were seen on PBS. Founded by Sue Perlgut and Lynn Laredo the troupe created fresh and innovative forms of expression based on stories from their lives, at a time when women were beginning to break free from the roles that had traditionally defined them. These eleven women not only developed a new style of experimental theater, but they also contributed to the movement that is now known as Second Wave Feminism. They were seen by thousands of women and men who laughed and cried with them and embraced their message.

The story of It’s All Right To Be Woman Theatre mirrors the growing pains of many organizations in the nascent women’s movement – a cycle of exploration, excitement, discovery, individuation, camaraderie, intense focus and ragged splits. And all this while questioning authority and exploring “the personal is political.” 

We are pleased to have, on video two of the troupe’s performances, one that was taped by channel 13 in New York City in 1972 and the final performance, also taped in New York City in 1975 by a woman’s video collective. Using these performances as the base of the documentary we are able to show the power of the troupe’s work. Members’ interviews from a 2007 reunion in NYC, combined with the archival footage of their performances, still photographs, music, posters, and interviews with followers of the troupe tell the collective’s story. The troupe inspired an entire generation of women in NYC and across the country, both individually and theatrically

The documentary shows a vitally needed picture of the times now being addressed in the historical record. The troupe’s creation shaped the lives they lived and leaves a legacy that persists to this day for future generations. 

Credits:

Production

Producer | Sue Perlgut

Directors | Nils Hoover, Sue Perlgut

Associate Producers | AC Warden, Eleanor Burke

Editor| Nils Hoover

Camera| Christopher Julian, Eleanor Burke, Nils Hoover, KiRa Fritzky-Randolph 

Music | Ruthy Gorton “The One About the Bird In The Cage”, Original music by It’s All Right To Be Woman Theatre

Archival footage/photographs/materials
Jane Lurie Archival footage “Fifth Street Building” 1970
Ellen Shumsky Photographs of performances
Video Freeks Archival footage, Alternate U
Marcia Salo It’s All Right To Be Woman Posters (msalo@earthlink.com)
Liza Cowan, WBAI Elektra Rewired, 1971

Administrative Assistant| Vivian Fowler

Cast:

Troupe Members (in alphabetical order)

  • Gretchen Davis
  • Ellen Karuna Thompson Heisler (1941-2007)
  • Lynn Laredo (1923-2016)
  • Lucy Liben
  • Stasia Lopopolo
  • Cynthia Munez
  • Sue Perlgut
  • Marcia Salo
  • Roberta Schine
  • Kathy Stillson
  • Jane Stamm Tokunaga

Interviewees:

  • Ardie Davis
  • Yvonne Fisher
  • Miriam Frank
  • Susan Perlstien
  • Roberta Sklar

Special Thank you!

  • Sara Hess of Social Ventures
  • Dr. Sara Warner
  • Jill Dolan
  • Carol Bushberg and Carol Bushberg Real Estate
  • MJ Watts
  • Len Heisler
  • Peter Alsop
  • Abi Basch
  • Jennifer Baumgardner
  • Sharon Bridgforth
  • Vinne Burrows
  • Ingrid Edwards
  • Stephanie Glickman
  • Omi Joni Jones
  • Carol A. Joos
  • Rachel Lampert
  • Deborah Margolin
  • Muriel Miguel
  • Honor Molloy
  • Karen Pastorello
  • Toni Salmere
  • Sondra Segal
  • Amy Sewell
  • Pat Carlson
  • Judith Pratt
  • Emily Hopkins Sanders