If you grew up in the states and played with dolls at almost any point during the last three decades, then there's a pretty good chance you've at least heard of American Girl. Perhaps most famous for its line of novelty dolls, the powerhouse brand has been empowering young girls, through a variety of means, for more than 30 years. Now, continuing that legacy, American Girl is getting a musical as well as a full-fledged national tour, according to a report from Variety on Monday, April 9.
The upcoming tour will mark the launch of American Girl Live, a newly minted, traveling musical production that aims to bring the doll characters' narratives to life. And much like most of the brand's creative ventures, the upcoming production will be designed entirely by women, for women. (Well, pre-teen women, mostly. But you get the idea.) According to Variety, American Girl president Katy Dickson spoke about the production's roots in empowering young women. She said in a statement,
"We know girls and their families and friends will love seeing these incredible stories come to life in an exciting, new stage production that offers an unwavering belief in the positive power of girlhood."
There's even a teaser video for the musical, which mentions original songs, friendships, and adventure.
The production is set to kick off its North American tour sometime this fall, with a more specific roster of tour dates slated for release in the coming weeks, according to Variety. The traveling musical proffers a special opportunity for audiences across the U.S. to watch their favorite American Girl-helmed characters and stories in a uniquely intimate, fun setting. Plus, American Girl Live touts an all-female cast, as well as an all-female creative team. (No word yet on who exactly will assume the project's head writer and director roles, though Variety's report suggests that information will be released in the coming weeks.)
The female perspective here seems particularly important, especially considering the distinctly formative age bracket of American Girl's target demographic. As anyone who's familiar with the company knows full-well, the crux of the brand's seemingly timeless prowess rests in its multi-faceted commitment to gifting young girls with a sturdy sense of self (in addition to gifting them with pristinely-lacquered collectible dolls, of course). A 25-second scan through the homepage of American Girl's official website reveals the brand's long-held M.O. pretty explicitly. "We believe in creating girls of strong character," the site reads. "Because character counts."
For anyone currently wondering how on earth a toy company could possibly manage to instill such a weighty, complex concept in its elementary school-aged patrons, American Girl president Dickson summed it up pretty sufficiently in a recent statement, according to Variety. Per the news outlet's report, she explained the brand's empowerment methodology in a nutshell:
"Over the past 30 years, American Girl’s beloved characters have become role models — inspiring millions of girls to think about their own character and how they want to make their mark on the world."
A quick scroll through American Girl's official Instagram page echoes Dickson's sentiment pretty clearly, with a patchwork of American Girl doll-themed posts that double as inspiring words of encouragement, sweetly-packaged life lessons, or some equally empowering combination of the two. Interspersed with fun tutorial videos and rousing quotes from some particularly poignant American Girl characters ("You're never too old or too young to stand up for justice," a quote by an AG doll character who grew up in 1960s Detroit, is a personal favorite) are a series of posts that seek to inspire courage, ambition, and kindness in its young patrons.
What's more, much of the brand's uplifting Instagram presence hinges on the American Girl dolls themselves, using their characters and stories as emblematic representations of what strength of character (in any one of its many, many iterations) actually looks like. And it seems there's no better way to demonstrate that strength of character than with a series of high-energy, live performances, wherein wide-eyed youngsters can not only bear witness to each American Girl's lesson-infused journey, but also envision a similar kind of strength playing out in their own lives.
So, for anyone looking to pass American Girl's uniquely kid-friendly empowerment lessons to the next generation, the upcoming American Girl Live musical might actually be worth checking out. Stay tuned for the official tour lineup to see when the show might be coming to a city near you.