FX’s drama “Mrs. America” examines two sides of the political movement around the Equal Rights Amendment. On one side are second-wave feminists such as Gloria Steinem (Rose Byrne) and Betty…
FX’s drama “Mrs. America” examines two sides of the political movement around the Equal Rights Amendment. On one side are second-wave feminists such as Gloria Steinem (Rose Byrne) and Betty Friedan (Tracey Ullman) while the opposition is led by the staunchly conservative Phyllis Schlafly (Cate Blanchett).
Series composer Kris Bowers, who has penned music for “When They See Us,” “Dear White People” and “Black Monday,” spoke with Variety about his approach to scoring the show and how he navigated between both sides of the political clash at its center.
“The Phyllis Schlafly sound and sonic palette became very traditional, using a lot of snare drums and orchestral elements like flute and some trumpet and strings,” Bowers said. “Then for the feminist side, it had more percussion, hand claps and tambourines or even hitting the side of random drums or plastic drums.”
Bowers also discussed Uzo Aduba’s depiction of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to United States Congress and the first Black candidate for a major party’s nomination for President.
“Working on that episode, I think it’s really interesting how we don’t talk about that more,” Bowers said. “That was something that I was really excited about in this show, but it’s something that should be a much bigger part of history in general. It’s a little surprising and saddening to me that the only reason I know about that is probably being Black and my family talking about that and then learning about that on my own. But I can’t remember any sort of educational environment where someone told me about Shirley Chisholm.”
Another struggle with putting the finishing touches on his “Mrs. America” score was completing everything while in quarantine after mandatory shutdowns due to the coronavirus. “Really for me I’m just appreciative of the team and friends that I have that I was able to call on and ask for advice on how to do this,” Bowers said explaining how they recorded remotely with him both on, and sometimes off the session.