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One of the most exciting theatrical collaborations in recent memory, SOFT POWER is an exploration of America's current place in the world, told through an East-West musical from China's point of view, in which a theater producer from Shanghai forges a powerful bond with Hillary Clinton. SOFT POWER is a fever dream of modern American politics amidst global conversations, asking us all – why do we love democracy? And should we?
Filled with passion, humor, and raw honesty, legendary playwright/poet Ntozake Shange’s form-changing choreopoem tells the story of seven women of color using poetry, song, and movement. With unflinching honesty and emotion, each woman voices her survival story of getting by in a world shaped by sexism and racism.
Dinner is cooked, modern dances are rehearsed, and the meal is eaten — all amidst conversations about art, death, family, dance, politics, the state of America, and how the world sees our country... and a host of everyday questions that make up the richness of ordinary life.
Agnes, an actress in Weimar Germany, and her cadre of passionate, progressive friends, are torn between protest, escape, and survival as the world they knew crumbles around them. Her story is interrupted by an American woman enraged by the cruelty of the Reagan administration, and a new character, grappling with the anxiety, distraction, hope, and hopelessness of an artist facing the once unthinkable rise of authoritarianism in modern America.
In this riveting, emotionally stunning new work based on first-person accounts by survivors and family members, Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, award-winning writers of The Exonerated, and three-time Grammy Award-winning country/folk legend Steve Earle, dig deep into the lives and loss of the most deadly mining disaster in recent U.S. history.
In 1967, Adham, a Palestinian Wordsworth scholar, goes to London with his new wife to deliver a lecture. When war breaks out at home, he must decide in an instant what to do – a choice that will affect the rest of his life. The two parts that follow explore alternate realities based on that decision. Each part in the trilogy speaks to the others, together painting a rare and moving picture of Palestinian displacement and a refugee’s life of permanent impermanence.
Widowed and living alone, Walter is a college professor whose life has lost a sense of purpose. When he discovers two young undocumented immigrants living in his New York apartment, the drummer Tarek and jewelry maker Zainab, Walter finds himself in the middle of their battle to stay in an America that’s lost its better angels.
It’s been 936 days since Flint has had clean water. Marion, a third generation General Motors employee, is consumed by layoffs at the engine plant. When her sister, Ainee, seeks justice and restitution for lead poisoning, her plan reveals the toxic entanglements between the city and its most powerful industry, forcing their family to confront the past-present-future cost of survival. As lead seeps into their home and their bodies, corrosive memories and secrets rise among them. Will this family ever be able to filter out the truth?
China meets America and a play meets a musical in David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s Soft Power, which examines American ideology and dramatizes how art can advance political agenda. The co-commission between The Public Theater and Center Theatre Group makes its New York premiere at The Public this fall. Theater arts writer Yan Chen speaks with playwright and lyricist David Henry Hwang.
Public Square is our monthly podcast, sharing stories of the work that happens on and off our stages and the people who make it possible.
Gail Papp - wife to our founder Joe Papp - began working at The Public in the very early days of the organization (before the two married in 1976). In celebration of Women’s History Month, she answered some questions via email about how her role and the role of other women has changed as The Public has evolved.
Last season, The Public collaborated with local artist Justin Teodoro on a series of illustrations capturing a year in the life of The Public Theater. We are excited to be showcasing the series, along with a number of Justin's original illustrations, on the Levin Mezzanine at 425 Lafayette Street from September 23 - November 24.