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Why We Theater

ABOUT

Social justice meets theatre in this podcast from Playbill’s former Executive Editor Ruthie Fierberg. Artists and experts unite for curated panels, using plays and musicals (Broadway, Off-Broadway, and works in development) as a jumping-off point to confront societal issues such as racism, colorism, voting rights, fake news, digital technology addiction, the school-to-prison pipeline, anti-Semitism, raising LGBTQIA+ kids, and more. We help listeners grapple with hard questions inside a play or musical in order to create change in our offstage lives. And don’t worry if you haven’t seen an individual episode’s show or if you’re not a theatre buff. Award-winning writers and directors of pieces like SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY and THE PROM break down the message inside their stories and how they created that story. Then, real-world experts in the corresponding field (like NSA Jake Sullivan or THIS AMERICAN LIFE’s Ira Glass) offer advice and action steps (thought patterns to monitor, petitions to sign, organizations to support, etc.) so we can manifest progress. “Theater” is not only a place or a presentation, it is an action. “To theater” is to engage with art presented onstage. Why we theater? We’re about to find out.

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Episodes

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Ep5 – Soft Power and Democracy, U.S.-China Relations, and Asian-American Culture

David Henry Hwang, three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony-winning playwright, and director Leigh Silverman join former policy director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, and U.S. policymaker and now NSA Jake Sullivan and journalist, media consultant, author, and “Asian Pop” columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle Jeff Yang to ...
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Ep4 – Pipeline and Education Inequity and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Tony nominee Dominique Morisseau (TV’s SHAMELESS, AIN’T TOO PROUD) discusses her groundbreaking play PIPELINE, named for the national crisis of the school-to-prison pipeline ...
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Ep3 – The Lifespan of a Fact and Truth in Journalism

Ira Glass, Tony nominee Leigh Silverman, and Barbara Brandon-Croft debate fake news and more, inspired by Broadway’s THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT ...
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Ep2 – Octet and Internet Addiction

Before Netflix’s THE SOCIAL DILEMMA, the 2019 musical OCTET tackled the harsh reality and trajectory of digital technology addiction and social media ...
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Ep1 – School Girls… and Colorism, Beauty, and Self-Esteem in Women, Girls, and Femmes

What is colorism, and how do we combat it? Who decides what is beautiful? Why are girls raised to compete with each other? ...
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Podcast Trailer

Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize–winning drama Disgraced changed Ruthie Fierberg’s life. In fact, it’s the whole reason this podcast exists. The play fused theatre and social justice for her. Theatre is not just a mirror to society, it’s a catalyst to change it. Listen to this 2-minute origin story ...

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