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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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Ep10 – Season1 Finale: Save the Arts and Arts Education

To close out Season 1, the tenth episode of Why We Theater focuses on the state of theatre right now. Rather than a panel, Ruthie talks directly to you. Why We Theater’s mission is to use the theatre as inspiration to create change, and right now, the theatre ...
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Ep9 – THE PROM and LGBTQIA+ Rights and the Well-Being of Our Queer Youth

This week, Why We Theater talks The Prom! After opening on Broadway in the fall of 2018, the musical comedy earned five Tony nominations, including Best Musical, and will soon debut on Netflix in a musical movie adaptation December 11. Inspired by true stories, The Prom spotlights Emma, ...
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Ep8 – IF I FORGET and American Jews, Anti-Semitism, and Tribalism

Tony Award-winning playwright Steven Levenson joins Why We Theater to talk about his play If I Forget. Set in 2000, the play focuses on a Jewish family as three adult children (Holly, Michael, and Sharon) return to their parents’ house in Maryland for their father Lou’s 75th birthday ...
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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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