Warriors Don't Cry


After hearing Ya Girl, a high school student with over 1 million followers on Instagram, struggle to make sense of today’s tumultuous world, Melba Pattillo steps out of history to share the story of her battle to integrate Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Ya Girl learns to see herself in Melba—and in all the young warriors who came before her who raised their hands and made a difference.

Inspired by Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals's Little Rock Nine memoir Warriors Don't Cry, this production is a catalyst for deeper discussion about social responsibility, civil discourse, social media, and community engagement.

Warriors Don't Cry is co-conceived by award-winning playwright Donnetta Lavinia Grays (Where We Stand) and director Tamilla Woodard (Associate Director, Hadestown), featuring original music by Toshi Reagon, spoken word, and video projection. This production is a collaboration between The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and TheaterWorksUSA.

Recommended Ages: Grades 6 to 12

Curriculum Connections

  • Communication and Language Arts
  • Music
  • Technology
  • Social Studies

Fun Fact

Director Tamilla Woodard was the Associate Director of Hadestown on Broadway, which opened in April of 2019.


  • Empowered Youth
  • Technology
  • Civil Discourse
  • Social Justice
  • Activism
  • Social Media
  • Freedom

Original Credits

Written and co-conceived by Donnetta Lavinia Grays
Directed and co-conceived by Tamilla Woodard
Original music composed by Toshi Reagon
Scenic & Costume Design by Jean Kim
Projection & Lighting Design by Elizabeth Mak
Sound Design by Kathy Ruvuna

Photos by Roger Castonguay; Ya Girl: Regan Sims

Video by Ryan Glista