KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The 19th Annual Fringe Festival is coming to Kansas City in about three weeks. It includes nearly 100 independently produced performances.
One group of artists is busy rehearsing a show they hope will make a big impact.
Julie Ewing and Kelsey Clark Massey share a passion for musical theater and the fight against human trafficking.
Over the last few weeks, they have combined those diverse interests to create something beautiful.
“It’s called jammed as a take on a traffic jam. A lot of times you’re just stuck in a place and jammed up in life, that’s the idea for where jammed—the title—came from,” Ewing said.
Ewing and her family help run a home in India for the children of victims of sex trafficking. Massey has worked with organizations throughout the county that rescue those who are being trafficked.
“Music is a beautiful vehicle for like drawing people in and not being too hard right at the start about hearing about this problem. It’s the perfect introduction to a heavy topic,” Massey said.
Early rehearsals have brought three talented performers together for the first time. They will tell the story of human trafficking from different perspectives.
A character named Katie is being groomed. Krystal is a sex worker forced to traffic others and Hailey has escaped and is living with the scars of her abuse.
Flo Nelson plays Hailey. Nelson has a personal reason why she didn’t want to play Hailey.
“I feel like I literally am Hailey,” Nelson said.
Which brought to her a personal reason why she should do it anyway. This could be why you can hear aching emotion in Hailey’s song. You can hear Nelson’s heartbreak too.
“When I heard what this piece was, I thought—number one—this could be so healing for me,” Nelson said, “Number two, it would touch them and help give them some healing.”
The creators and actors in the musical production of Jammed have poured each of their experiences into a story they hope exposes the truth and urges the audience to action.
The musical “Jammed” will show five times between July 21 and 29 during the Kansas City Fringe Festival. You can buy tickets online here.