Christina Ham

Arizona Theatre Company – Christina Ham

More from this show

In this episode of the Art in the 48 podcast, host Craig Bohmler remembers the legacy of Nina Simone and delves into how the Arizona Theatre Company will bring life to Simone’s words.

“Life is short,” Simone said. “People are not easy to know. If you don’t tell them how you feel, you’re not going to get anywhere.”

Nina Simone was best known as the searingly powerful, unrestrained musical voice of America’s civil rights’ movement.

After a journey struggling to be classically trained in piano, she reflected on the fact that there were no Black professional pianists, something attributed to racism in the South.

Throughout her career, Simone refused to call herself a jazz musician, although often she is mistaken as such. She referred to herself as a Black classical pianist, whose music was inspired by and meant for Black people.

“To most white people, jazz means Black and Black means dirt, and that’s not what I play.” Simone said. “I play Black classical music.”

 An icon in the civil rights movement, Nina’s song Four Women portrayed Black women as more than the stereotypes typically associated with them. She claimed critics often missed the point of the famous song, which later inspired the musical of the same name, written by Christina Ham and played by the Arizona Theatre Company.

The Arizona Theatre Company seeks to bring Arizonans together by providing theatrical experiences which tell stories that are relevant in today’s society.

Christina Ham’s Nina Simone, Four Women, explores the turbulent times of the civil rights movement through the eyes of Simone. Performed by the theatre company, the story allows the audience a chance to reflect on the social justice issues we still face, even today.

Simone’s profound legacy is remembered by the Arizona Theatre Company, and by many modern-day equal rights activists.

Sebastian Robins and Mona Haydar
airs July 5

The Great Muslim American Road Trip

Baratunde sitting criss-cross in the desert
airs July 5

America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston

Security forces block the entrance after the U.S. President Donald Trump's supporters breached the US Capitol security in Washington D.C., United States on January 06, 2021. Pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol as lawmakers were set to sign off Wednesday on President-elect Joe Biden's electoral victory in what was supposed to be a routine process headed to Inauguration Day. Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
aired June 28

WATCH LIVE: Arizona PBS coverage of Jan. 6 Capitol riot hearings

A man stands with his hands raised above his head

The Hunter

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: