When American men marched off to fight in World War II, women were left to take up the slack in the work force.
Those women built houses, drove taxis, paved highways, commanded heavy equipment and drove the rivets into newly constructed airplanes.
Thus is the story of Rosie the Riveter, a cultural icon that represented American women during the 1940s. A famous poster from that era depicted a tough-looking Rosie flexing her arm muscles and wearing a kerchief on her head and factory work clothes.
The 5th Avenue Theatre's Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company, based in Seattle, has taken Rosie the Riveter's image and created a musical stage production. The show comes to the Tri-Cities on April 27-28 in the auditorium at Pasco High School.
The event is part of the 5th Avenue's outreach program for elementary and middle schools across the state.
"This is a great show as well as a terrific history lesson for kids," said Porky Thomsen, Tri-City actor and businessman. "And it really gives kids a good exposure to professional theater that they might not otherwise have a chance to see."
Tri-City performances for students are at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. April 27 and at 9 a.m., 12:45 and 1:45 p.m. April 28. Admission is free. The only performance open to the general public is the 1:30 p.m. show April 27.
"We strive to bring theater to every kid and we need to strive to teach every kid how amazingly rich our local history is," said the show's director Brandon Ivie of Seattle.
The Rosie the Riveter storyline follows a young girl named Rosie who rolls up her sleeves and goes to work at Boeing after her brother joins the Army.
As she and her fellow female workers settle into the once male-only domain, they becomes as adept as the men at riveting together airplanes.
The musical was written by playwright Stephanie Timm with composer Albert Evans handling the music.
The musical was made possible in the Tri-Cities by grants from several area businesses -- Toyota Center, Sun River Electric, T&R Farms, Northwest CAP Group, Mulvihill Insurance, Pacific N.W. Project, Washington Trust Band, Dr. Stephen and Cynthia Ewer, Noel and Marti Price, and Porky Thomsen and Terri Stephenson.
Elementary and middle school teachers who would like to reserve seats for their students should contact Orlando Morales at the 5th Avenue Theatre via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207-625-1418, ext. 744.