The show is a platform for community discussion, with special guest respondents, including MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
Milwaukee Repertory Theater is proud to announce an innovative partnership with the Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, having received a $35,000 Art Works Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of the world-premiere American Song. As part of its new mission to create positive change by producing plays that provoke meaningful dialogue, The Rep will launch Act Two, an unprecedented series of curated, public conversations paired with the play for an immersive evening of world-class theater and inspirational community dialogue.
Committed to producing vital new plays for Milwaukee audiences, Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Artistic Director Mark Clements commissioned world-renowned playwright Joanna Murray-Smith to write American Song. This world-premiere stars one of America’s finest classical actors, James DeVita, and discusses the complicated nature of parenting in a country experiencing increasingly prevalent mass killings. From access to mental health services, to the proliferation of assault weapons, to the challenges children face on the path to adulthood, American Song asks what happened to Walt Whitman’s ideal of the unified American voice.
Act Two, set to immediately follow the 80-minute performance of American Song, will begin with a five minute response from a local specialist in a thematically relevant field. Following these remarks, the audience will be invited to participate in a 30 to 45-minute small group discussion facilitated by Zeidler Center staff. With research-based practices, the Zeidler Center is a leader in using reflective, structured dialogue to encourage meaningful conversation. The total experience will last approximately 2 hours.
“The best plays in the world are both entertaining and eye-opening. And some of the best conversations I’ve had immediately followed such remarkable plays,” stated Managing Director Chad Bauman.
“American Song offers a unique opportunity to give our audiences an experience of both, in an intimate setting, and amongst friends. As we become more polarized as a country, the theater can serve an important role in reminding us all that, through our differences, we have shared desires, including the hope that our children will grow up in a more harmonious world.”
American Song runs in the Quadracci Powerhouse from March 15 – April 10 (Opening Night is March 18). Tickets (starting at $20 and subject to change) can be purchased online at www.MilwaukeeRep.com, by phone at 414-224-9490 or at the Ticket Office (108 E Wells Street). The Rep is sponsored in part by the United Performing Arts Fund.
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