Malala, Hillary Clinton debut new Broadway show about women’s right to vote

The Nobel laureate lauds the women-centric project as the story everyone needs to hear 

Entertainment Desk April 22, 2024

In a remarkable show of two women powerhouses joining forces, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousufzai and former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton rang in the Broadway debut of their co-produced musical Suffs Thursday night. 

According to The New York Times, Broadway has turned its focus on women-led projects with women-centric stories. Coming under the umbrella of two globally recognised women, Suffs is a new musical about women’s suffrage that traces the campaign for women’s right to vote back to the early 20th century. Malala and Hillary join Rachel Sussman and Jill Furman as producers. As per New York Times chief theater critic Jesse Green, Suffs is “smart and noble and a bit like a rally.” 

“This show reminds us that women fought hard for their right to vote, and it’s not something that we should take for granted,” said Malala, who attended the opening night of her new show with husband Asser Malik. 

Suffs marks a Broadway debut for Malala. According to the Nobel laureate, it was the musical Matilda that helped her adjust to life in the United Kingdom. Malala moved to the UK from Pakistan after being shot by the Taliban for supporting girls' education rights. Malala said, “I could see another girl from another place, and I could relate to her.” Malala's love for theatre began to bloom, and she added, “I’ve been watching musicals ever since.”

Malala explained that she saw Suffs at the the Public Theater in 2022, and was immediately drawn to the concept. Knowing that she wanted to be involved in bringing the show to the Broadway stage, she said, “This was a story that everybody needs to see and everybody needs to hear.”

Staying true to Broadway’s women-oriented goal, as per The New York Times, Suffs also boasts mainly women working behind the scenes. The show originally dates back ten years, with singer-songwriter Shaina Taub having written the book, music and lyrics. Shaina plays Alice Paul, one of the leaders of the movement, in the show. As with all major theatre productions, the project underwent several years of development before premiering at the Public Theatre in 2022. 

Further rewrites and a new opening number were added before performances began on Broadway. “I’m just excited for us to finally get to build up a community around the show,” said Shaina, and urged audiences, "If you’re inspired by this story, if you do one thing, make sure you’re registered to vote."  

Hillary, too, voiced her delight that the musical was finally being brought to theatre-goers. “I’m so excited that audiences are embracing this story,” she said. “It’s historic and relevant, and it’s emotional, and it shows the relationships among these women who fought so hard to get us the right to vote.”

With Suffs focusing around the right to vote and landing in the US during an election year, audience interest in the show has remained strong. In the previous week, Suffs ranked in the top 10 out of 36 shows on Broadway, according to number of seats filled, and speculation is high that it will continue to rise in popularity. 

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