Segments in this Video

Warrenville Illinois Youth Center (03:41)


Teenage inmates participate in a musical about their lives. Whitney, 17, identifies herself as evil and provides a tour of the correctional facility.

Fabulous Females (02:48)

Meade Palidofsky founded a music theater workshop in 1984 to combine theater and social change. She and choreographer Dereka Deleveaux lead female inmates in a dance and writing session. Whitney has trouble participating and gets frustrated.

Anger Management (04:05)

Inmates share why they are in jail. Rosa, 17, began acting violent as a child; her mother was on drugs and her father in jail for murder. Palidofsky divides participants into groups for script writing; Rosa gets frustrated with her team.

Lacking Parental Support (03:24)

Christina, 18, is in jail for running away from foster homes and contempt of court. Her mother is addicted to crack but she cannot abandon her. Palidofsky gets Whitney to share her writing about her father’s addiction.

First Reading (01:51)

The Fabulous Females do a reading of their play for fellow inmates. Christina releases emotions around her mother's addiction and abandonment.

Forming a Storyline (04:48)

With Palidofsky's guidance, young women decide to make the arc of their play about trying to make it after prison. They develop a character whose mother is addicted to crack. Rosa tries to control her anger before being released on parole.

Family Picnic (03:03)

Parents come to Warrenville Illinois Youth Center. Christina meets potential adoptive parents. Whitney's father Wayne regrets how his drug use damaged their relationship.

Growing Up too Fast (03:21)

Many young people do not solve their emotional issues while in prison. During the script writing process, Palidofsky tries to help Whitney address her anger at her family for abandoning her.

Audition Process (05:06)

Rosa returns to Warrenville after getting in a fight; she shows a knife scar. Inmates try out for the Fabulous Females' musical. Christina is going to a foster home; she tries to imagine a new life outside prison.

Starting Rehearsals (02:39)

Young women practice songs with music director George Wallace. Christina is released to her new foster parents; her mentor intervenes when she wants to call family members she is not allowed to.

Three Weeks until Opening Night (04:31)

Rosa shares that she was molested by a family member from a young age. Fabulous Females members become frustrated during rehearsal; one young woman quits. Palidofsky gives a pep talk.

Warrenville's Muse (02:34)

Some Fabulous Females members are suffering rehearsal burnout. Palidofsky coaches Rosa during a song about life as an inmate.

Trouble Adjusting to Life Outside (03:07)

Christina feels out of place among her foster parents' church community and does not want to break ties to her past. Fabulous Females members hear that she has run away again and expect she will return to Warrenville.

Whitney's Story (04:03)

Seven days before opening night, participants are feeling stressed. Whitney explains how her anger led her to beat an elderly man to death. Her father feels partially responsible.

Opening Night (10:19)

A song reminds a cast member of her mother putting her down. Whitney's father is in the audience and hears her message of reconciliation. She believes she can change. See an update on Rosa, Whitney, and Christina.

Credits: Girls on the Wall (01:41)

Credits: Girls on the Wall

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Girls on the Wall

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The teenage girls of Warrenville Prison get a shot at redemption in a most unlikely form: a musical based on their lives. As three fascinating girls write and stage their play, they're compelled to relive their crimes, reclaim their humanity, and take a first step toward breaking free of the prison system. Meet Whitney (17), intimidating, self-loathing, and infamous for a crime she won't talk about; Rosa (17), who was released from Warrenville only to return weeks later after nearly getting killed in a knife fight; and Christina (18), who was drawn into street life by her mother's crack habit and has spent most of her life in jails and foster placements.

Length: 62 minutes

Item#: BVL186859

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

"Nothing short of powerful." LA Times • "It's strong stuff." - Philadelphia Inquirer "You become a witness to inner change, and that change is initiated by the act of storytelling. An excellent film." - Huffington Post "An amazing documentary." Time Out Chicago • "How can you not be inspired?" - Philadelphia City Paper "Paints an unforgettable portrait detailing the empowerment to be found in self-expression... One of the more stirring works you will see all year." -Anchorage Press "Outstanding" – WBEZ Chicago Public Radio "Highly recommended" – Video Librarian

Performance Rights

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