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Why We Theater

ABOUT

Why We Theater lies at the intersection of theatre and social justice. Here, we work to answer the questions theatremakers ask in their most urgent onstage works, contend with the cultural issues they confront within their art, and create meaningful change in our offstage lives. Each episode begins with a one-on-one discussion between host Ruthie Fierberg and the artist behind the theatrical piece at hand; then we open the discussion to include real-world experts in that field to offer advice and steps to help us all take actions (re-wire a thought pattern, sign a petition, donate to a related charity, volunteer for a related organization, etc.) to manifest progress.

I like to think of “theater” not just as a place or a presentation but as an action. “To theater” is to engage with art presented onstage. The curtain call of a play or musical is not the end of the experience; it’s the beginning. And so this is Why We Theater.

Hosted by Ruthie Fierberg.

Why We Theater is recorded, in part, on the traditional lands of the Wappinger and Lenape Peoples. I acknowledge this land was unjustly taken from them and pay my respect to elders both past and present. Learn more about Land Acknowledgment and why it’s important.

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Episodes

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Ep7 – Usual Girls and Femme Sex and Sexuality, Part Two

The second of a fascinating two-part discussion, this episode delves deeper into Ming Peiffer’s Usual Girls. The play premiered in 2018 at Roundabout Underground for an extended, sold-out run. Catalyzed by the allegations against American Apparel’s Dov Charney, playwright Peiffer began to investigate the stories of women and ...
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Ep6 – Usual Girls and Femme Sex and Sexuality, Part One

The first of a critical two-part discussion, this episode focuses on Ming Peiffer’s Usual Girls. The play premiered in 2018 at Roundabout Underground for an extended, sold-out run. Catalyzed by the allegations against American Apparel’s Dov Charney, playwright Peiffer began to investigate the stories of women and the ...
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Ep5 – Soft Power and Democracy, U.S.-China Relations, and Asian-American Culture

Three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony-winning playwright David Henry Hwang and director Leigh Silverman join former national security advisor to VP Joe Biden, former policy director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, and U.S. policymaker Jake Sullivan and journalist, media consultant, author, and “Asian Pop” columnist for the San ...
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Ep4 – Pipeline and Education Inequity and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Inspired by Dominique Morisseau’s play Pipeline, today’s episode delves into issues tied to the national crisis of the school-to-prison pipeline. The play follows, Omari, a Black high school student at a predominantly white prep school and his single mother, Nya, who teaches at the district public school. When ...
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Ep3 – The Lifespan of a Fact and Truth in Journalism

Based on the book of the same name, The Lifespan of a Fact opened cold on Broadway at Studio 54 October 18, 2018, and immediately illuminated issues of journalistic integrity, art versus media, and what the word “truth” actually means. Jim Fingal is an intern at a literary ...
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Ep2 – Octet and Internet Addiction

Inspired by the new 2019 musical Octet, this episode digs into the helps and harms of the internet and digital technology. Written by Dave Malloy (The Great Comet) and directed by Annie Tipp, the a cappella chamber musical debuted Off-Broadway at the Signature Theatre Center. Staged as a ...

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