It wasn't your typical open mike night at Makor. A forty-ish woman in a headscarf took the stage and starting belting out songs while she slammed her electric guitar. She was followed by a twenty-something woman in capris who told jokes about her latest experience with J-Date. And the audience, all women, loved it. That's what makes Girls’ Night On so successful.

Girls’ Night On is an initiative that organizes performances for women, by women. The program was started by a group of Orthodox women who were searching for outlets to perform. After singing, acting and telling jokes for a small crowd in a synagogue social hall, they were thrilled to have the rare opportunity of playing a venue like Makor. And they aren't alone.

Like other women's-only performances that grew out of the Orthodox community (Rachel Factor, for example), Girls’ Night On has broader appeal. Many women prefer the vibe and the relaxed atmosphere of a women's performance. Girls’ Night On is unique in this respect. How many events can claim to have ultra-Orthodox women and secular women (plus quite a few in between) in the same room laughing together and cheering each other on? Girls’ Night On also crosses age and geographic lines. The most recent show at Makor was sold out, with a standing room only crowd of over 170 women, from high school students to grandmothers (though most in their 20s), from all over the New York metropolitan area and New Jersey.

Through the open mike nights, Girls’ Night On is building a community of women artists and providing them with opportunities and exposure that they would not otherwise have. For both the performers and the audience, Girls’ Night On is inspiring women to strengthen their voices, whether on stage, in their personal and professional lives or in their communities.

After the success and publicity of the open mike nights (Girls’ Night On has been written up in The New York Jewish Week and The Blueprint and will be featured in Hadassah Magazine, The Manhattan Sentinel and the Long Island Jewish World), synagogues, organizations and Jewish community members from across the New York area and around the country have expressed interest in having Girls’ Night On run women's concerts and open mikes in their communities. Additionally, Girls’ Night On has begun working on a live CD, which will feature the talented women of the open mike night. The reception has been so positive that Girls’ Night On expects to grow on all fronts.

Questions? Comments?