Reluctant to cope with one more tragedy in a school—raise your hand if you feel me!—young activist Ya Girl is ready to call it quits on leading her million-plus Instagram followers in the fight for social justice. When Melba Pattillo Beals steps out of history and into Ya Girl’s phone 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 to raise their hands and make 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

Slide "It was an amazingly powerful performance and right on for the times." —Alita Wilson, Executive Director, Pentangle Arts Council Slide "Wonderful show, wonderful job on the Q&A....A well done, powerful performance." - Carolyn A. Johnson, Garde Arts Center Slide "The actor's ability to move seamlessly from one character to another was remarkable." - Alita Wilson, Executive Director, Pentangle Arts Council Slide “Your message really resonated with my students. They were able to connect today’s performance with the literary content we reviewed in class.” - Nicole Wilson, Teacher, New York City Slide "This was by far the best touring show we’ve presented. There is so little out there for high school and middle school students that speaks to their reality. I hope TheaterWorksUSA continues to find and produce such relevant subject matter." - Alita Wilson, Executive Director, Pentangle Arts Council