Magical feminism doesn’t save ‘Chicks in Heaven’ at Creative Cauldron

Four women hold a 30-year reunion hoping the Wiccan activism that once united them can prevail in the present.

Chicks in Heaven, a new play with music by author, professor, and performance artist Carol Lee Campbell, centers on a 30-year reunion in southwestern Virginia of friends who once shared a deep bond fueled by feminist ideals. In their youth, the women experimented with magic as a means to challenge societal norms and fight against the oppressive forces of patriarchy. Now, as they come together again, they hope that the magical activism that once united them can prevail in the face of present-day challenges.

The premise is fine enough, but the show itself unfortunately has a number of weaknesses, beginning with Frances, played by Karen Lange, as she opens a refrigerator door to witchy spirits that come out and remind her that there is “More Work to Do.” It appears to be part flashback/part dream sequence, but the staging was clunky and the song would have been more believable if the women came together onstage in a collective opening, without all of the mystical embellishment getting in the way.

Pauline Lamb (Tatiana), Audrey Baker (Mindy), Karen Lange (Frances), and Krista Grimmett (Emmaline) in ‘Chicks in Heaven.’ Photo by William T. Gallagher Photography.

As the women come together for their reunion, the discovery of a book-burning ceremony in the town becomes their focus, and upon their return to the shop, they discover that the van belonging to Emmaline, played by Krista Grimmett, has been vandalized with racial slurs and set on fire. However, the show seems rather disjointed at this point; the focus is unclear on what is more upsetting — the vandalism that occurs or the fact that the characters are accusing each other of racial bias or having white privilege. The credibility of the show also suffers from some overacting, but it is uncertain whether that was the writing or the performer’s choice.

The funniest parts of the show come from Sophie, the devout Christian, played by Charlene Sloane. Whenever witchcraft is mentioned, Sloane provides some clever humor as Sophie’s character struggles to be tolerant of her new Wiccan acquaintance, Mindy, played by Audrey Baker. Baker in turn delivers a sweet performance and has a delightful singing voice. However, at one point Sophie is praying to God for answers, and a light comes from the hallway leading Sophie offstage; a bit too predictable and, honestly, rather tacky.

The technical part of the production was pretty seamless. Set and Costume Designer Margie Jervis, Lighting Designer Lynn Joslin, and Projection Designer James Morrison do a nice job to convey the atmosphere of a kind of homey, and maybe a little-worn-down antique shop, which is fitting with the theme. Interestingly enough, the instrumental music for the production is well written, but it is the lyrics I take issue with. They are altogether too preachy and repetitive, and not one song has a “hook,” or a refrain that you would remember.

TOP: Krista Grimmett (Emmaline), Karen Lange (Frances), and Pauline Lamb (Tatiana); ABOVE: Audrey Baker (Mindy), Pauline Lamb (Tatiana), Karen Lange (Frances), and Krista Grimmett (Emmaline), in ‘Chicks in Heaven.’ Photo by William T. Gallagher Photography.Regrettably, Chicks in Heaven is not my favorite production of the year. While I felt the production was flawed in some aspects, there is still good to be found. I appreciate the overall message conveyed within the production, and author Carol Lee Campbell is ambitious in her message to build a collective fight against gender oppression. The power of nature and Wiccan belief is not lost on me, but this was not a magical mystery tour.

Chicks in Heaven plays through April 28, 2024 (Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm), at Creative Cauldron – 410 South Maple Avenue, Retail 116, Falls Church, VA. For tickets (Tier One, $45; Tier Two, $35; Students, $20), call (703) 436-9948 or purchase them online.

The program for Chicks in Heaven can be viewed here.

COVID Safety: Creative Cauldron is a mask-optional environment.​ Creative Cauldron’s COVID-19 Theater Protocol is available Carol Lee Campbell

Chicks in Heaven
Book & Lyrics by Carol Lee Campbell
Music by Carol Lee Campbell and David Graziano
Directed by Laura Connors Hull
Choreographed by Silvana Christopher

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Dana Roberts
Dana Roberts is a Loudoun County Public School English Teacher. She has an undergraduate degree in Sociology with a minor in Music Education and Flute and Voice from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a graduate degree in Special Education from George Mason University. She has been an actress in theater in the DC Metro Area since the age of 5, and has been a member of the Fairfax Choral Society, Cathedral Choral Society, the Reston Chorale, and is currently a member of the Alexandria Singers. She is also a member of the National Council for Teachers of English, the National Education Association, and the Council for Exceptional Children, as well as a past member of the Alexandria Singers Board of Directors. Currently she lives in Leesburg, VA, with her husband and her two beagles, Riley and Paisley.


  1. I very much enjoyed this play. As a mother, woman and spiritually open person I found the lyrics to the songs to be incredibly poetic and emotional and I remembered many specific lines from the songs because of the depth of impact they had on me. One of the songs stated somewhere in the lyrics ‘what’s a warrior without a battle’ as the women lined up side by side holding all different symbolic/invisible weapons . As a woman who is very interested in mysticism and open spiritually, I very much appreciated the specific themes on paganism and Christianity and the tie in of current themes like the Harry Potter book burning. This play, to me, had the roots of potential similar to a show like Book of Mormon. I could imagine many reviews similar to this were written about that show in its early days as well. If you are a woman who has any appreciation for the mystic arts, who is a mother, interested in women’s rights and activism, you will find this show deeply relatable and touching.


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