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Why We Theater

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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

THE COLOR PURPLE meets Prayer for the French Republic

THE COLOR PURPLE meets Prayer for the French Republic

Continuing our discussion about the musical The Color Purple (which is also about to become a movie musical starring Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, and Corey Hakwins), this week Ruthie ...
THE COLOR PURPLE and Generational Trauma

THE COLOR PURPLE and Generational Trauma

In all its forms, The Color Purple is a powerful account of generational trauma in the Black community. The novel by Alice Walker was published in 1982 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983 before ...
SANCTUARY CITY Meets The Sun Is Also A Star

SANCTUARY CITY Meets The Sun Is Also A Star

Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok writes the story of high-schoolers B & G in Sanctuary City. As undocumented teens, the two lean on each other. When G gets citizenship and B has to choose to stay in ...
SANCTUARY CITY and U.S. Immigration Reform

SANCTUARY CITY and U.S. Immigration Reform

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Martyna Majok debuted her new play, Sanctuary City, Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop in the fall of 2021. The drama follows B and G, two best friends, both undocumented ...
Why We Theater NOW: January 2022

Why We Theater NOW: January 2022

It can be a challenge to make an episode of Why We Theater in time for you to see every show while it’s running. So here are some recommendations for currently running Broadway and Off-Broadway shows ...
THE KILLING OF KINGS meets The Prison Within

THE KILLING OF KINGS meets The Prison Within

Building on our episodes about Nadira Simone’s The Killing of Kings, in this mini-episode, Ruthie recommends the documentary The Prison Within. The film reveals the stories of six incarcerated men—their ...

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