A Note from Writer Lisa Loomer

DEC 6, 2023

Whenever I am approached about a new project, I ask myself, “Why this story, why now?” Especially when it comes to adaptation, I have to have a burning need to tell the story myself, it has to strike something personal in me…and it has to shed light on this moment in time. To me, we are at a moment when women of color and immigrant women are truly coming into power. Just look at our Congress. And who do they thank first in their acceptance speeches? Their mothers. So a show about a group of immigrant Latine factory workers and the young, college-bound woman who joins them…feels particularly relevant.

Josefina López wrote the play Real Women Have Curves when she was eighteen! And the issues in her story, though it’s set in 1987, are just as pressing today as they were back then. Issues like immigration and citizenship. Not to mention the issue of what we now call “body acceptance.” There was no name for that back then! I considered whether or not to “update” the story to the present. But I felt it would be even more powerful to leave it set in the past, to feel what has not changed. I also invented a few new characters to explore those issues further. But the most important thing that has not changed is the central question of Josefina’s story which is a universal one: “What do we owe ourselves versus what do we owe our families?” Our immigrant parents came here for the American Dream. Often they did not realize that dream themselves and left it to the next generation. But in many respects that dream is in conflict with the values of one’s original culture. Our heroine, Ana, says that being a child of immigrants “is like being born in debt.” What she learns is that, yes, we owe the people whose shoulders we stand on a great deal… But it’s not just about paying them a debt, it’s about seeing and celebrating them. This show is a celebration!

Women, and especially immigrant women, have to take a curvy approach to life: they have to bend, they have to go around obstacles. The final question for me was, “Why turn this story into a musical?” As you will see, there is so much power when these women work—and eat—and laugh—and sing—and dance—together. Real Women Have Curves had to be a musical; it’s part of its curvy path. And I’m grateful that it’s been part of mine.

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