TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Cheyenne Gagner, of Owasso, recently landed the title role in the upcoming production of “Nanyehi – The Story of Nancy Ward.”

The historical musical shares the story of the legendary Cherokee who was first honored in the 18th century as a Cherokee war woman but then as a peacemaker during the American Revolution.

It is written by award-winning songwriter and recording artist Becky Hobbs and playwright Nick Sweet. Hobbs is a Cherokee Nation citizen and Bartlesville native who is a direct descendant of Nancy Ward.

“We could not have been more pleased with the incredible turnout during this year’s auditions, and we’re happy to say we found our new leading lady,” Hobbs said. “Cheyenne simply embodied the essence of Nanyehi and brought an unmatched power and grace to the stage that took us by surprise. This is sure to be one of the best productions yet.”

Gagner is a former kindergarten teacher for Owasso schools with a passion for music and performing arts.

“When I first heard about the audition, I knew it was something I had to pursue,” Gagner said. “My mother and grandmother were both involved with the American Indian Theater Company, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to continue chasing my dreams and follow in their footsteps. I even reached out to one of my former students who is Cherokee, and she and her younger sister were cast as well. It is an honor and a privilege to get to help share Nanyehi’s message.”

Auditions were held in July and took place in Muskogee and Tulsa, resulting in one of the largest groups for both cast and crew. More than 30 roles were filled for the October production, with talented Native and non-Native actors, singers and dancers of all ages.

Also included in the cast is Alaska Holloway, of the country duo Alaska and Madi, featured on season 6 of the NBC show “The Voice.” Holloway is taking on the role of Nanyehi’s mother, Tenia, and will open the musical with a striking ballad.

The 2023 showing is slated for Oct. 13-14, which will mark its 12th production. It has been presented seven times in Oklahoma, twice in Tennessee, and single productions in Georgia and Texas. Tickets go on sale Aug. 4 at www.hardrockcasinotulsa.com.

“Nanyehi” is presented by Cherokee Nation Businesses and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

For more information about the production or a list of open positions for auditions, please visit www.nanyehi.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..