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Learning Washington State History through Musical Theater


Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre will present “The Mercer Girls” to Twin Falls Middle School’s 7th grade students in support of their Washington State History curriculum on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. This performance, by the 5th Avenue’s Adventure Musical Theater Touring Company, is possible due to a grant from the Snoqualmie Valley Schools Foundation.

Here is a prelude to this upcoming lesson:
 
On May 16, 1864, the first eleven “Mercer Girls” reached the new city of Seattle. The women had been recruited by then University of Washington President Asa Shinn Mercer and sailed to the Puget Sound region from the East Coast to work as teachers in the Washington Territory. The people of Seattle were happy to welcome these highly educated women into their community while finding them new homes and jobs in schools. The women were full of hope and aspiration, but life in the new city was often difficult.

Told primarily through the detailed journal entries of the eldest Mercer Girl, Mary Elizabeth "Lizzie" Ordway (who became the first public school teacher in the city), this original musical follows the journey of the Mercer Girls and their experiences in the fast growing town of Seattle.

Twin Falls Middle School students will have the opportunity to travel on their unforgettable journey from Massachusetts to Washington during a time when the city of Seattle was new and hopes were high. “It’s a lively, entertaining musical that tells the story of the women who became the teachers, wives, mothers and grandmothers of the founding families of the Puget Sound region,” explained Twin Falls Language Arts and History Teacher Rene Peterson.
 
Mercer Girls sketch