18-25 years old
Innocent and energetic, she is always hopeful for a brighter future. She is also the constant reminder of an idyllic past.
25-35 years old
She is on the verge of success, optimistic yet cautious. She’s been burned and is a little gun shy. She finds her deepest pleasure in music.
30-45 years old
She is angry and ready to buck the system. As racial turmoil increases in the country, she becomes more personally involved. But as that mood of protest increases, she also becomes more psychologically vulnerable and susceptible to moments of emotional exhaustion and collapse.
40-55 years old
She is wise, yet jaded. She has seen the way of the world and chosen to reject it, rather than continue to live amongst hypocrisy and hatred. She speaks her mind bluntly and doesn’t care who takes offense.
As for the vocal range of the cast; all 4 singers are basically altos. Nina 1 is a high alto but not a soprano. Nina 2 is a contralto. low d. the general range is a low e below middle c to the c above middle c. nothing higher even when they sing harmony. This is a typical range for an African-American female singing jazz/gospel/R&B.
All of the characters are played by African-American women. This is an ensemble piece, and no one role is more important or should be featured more than any other.
While these actors do represent various personality traits or qualities of the historical Nina Simone, no attempt should be made to represent her onstage, vocally or physically, with the exception of the “concert” moments that are recreated, with dialogue from Nina’s own words. The actors are basically playing themselves, filtered through the lens of Nina’s words and music.
Let the music guide the character development and the tone throughout the performances. Adhere to Nina’s distinct arrangements and musical style, but do not attempt to emulate her specific vocal idiosyncrasies.