In recent years, the mainstream media began reassessing the career and impact of musician Nina Simone, with documentaries exploring her personal life and rereleases of her works. Playwright Christina Ham knew there was more to Simone than her musicianship – after the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church and the assassination of Medgar Evers, Simone gave voice to the shared anger and outrage of the black community in her surprisingly jaunty song "Mississippi Goddamn." Ham's play Nina Simone: Four Women
(inspired by Simone's namesake song about the plight of black women in a racist society) explores how the arts helped drive and inspire the civil rights moment, as well as the ways women were shunted to the side of that same movement. The Black Rep closes its season with Nina Simone: Four Women
. Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (May 17 to June 2) at Washington University's Edison Theatre (6465 Forsyth Boulevard; www.theblackrep.org
). Tickets are $15 to $45.