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#ArtActionDay: Events in NYC

Today, the first anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump, is Art Action Day.
The day is organized by The Federation, founded last year to spread the message:

Art is essential to democracy

There are events planned throughout the country. Here are some in New York:

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#Hamildrop 2, with Lin-Manuel Miranda: Wrote My Way Out

Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Aloe Blacc perform “Wrote My Way Out” the second of the promised monthly #Hamildrop series, which replace the initially proposed second volume of The Hamilton Mixtape.

The Fire This Time Festival 2018 Review: African American Plays

Fire This Time playwrights and performers

The Fire Next Time Festival 2018 performers, playwrights, directors.

A white police officer shoots a black driver five times after pulling him over for a minor traffic violation. But things are not what they seem in “Black, White & Blue”by William Watkins, one of the six 10-minutes plays in the ninth annual Fire This Time Festival.

Watkins’ play is the most overtly political, and one of the most effective, in the evening of short plays that is the centerpiece of this year’s Fire This Time Festival, which showcases the work of early-career playwrights of African and African American descent, running through January 28, 2018.
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The Undertaking Review: The Civilians Take on Death, Again

Death is well-suited to the stage, according to a philosopher quoted in “The Undertaking,” a play about death and dying written and directed by Steve Cosson, the artistic director of The Civilians. Actors playing Lear or Hamlet allow us to “practice” death, the philosopher explains; they are “ventriloquising” death for us. Death is such a common theme and occurrence in live dramas that theater might as well be called one of the fatal arts.

Given this prominence of death in theatrical life, and The Civilians’ own track record,  “The Undertaking” winds up an underwhelming undertaking.

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Hamilton, Waitress, Phantom Cast New Leads. Broadway’s Getting More Diverse. Week in NY Theater

Michael Luwoye takes over the title role of Hamilton on Broadway, on the same day that Sara Bareilles, the creator of Waitress, takes on the lead role as Jenna, Peter Jöback the title role of The Phantom of the Opera. All have performed these roles on Broadway before.

Two reports show a nudge towards more diversity on Broadway, and elsewhere in New York theater as well — more nonwhite theater artists on stage, younger theatergoers in the audience. Details below, along with news about Leslie Odom Jr., a video of the American Theatre magazine panel discussion with directors Anne Bogart, Rachel Chavkin, Liesl Tommy, and Anne Kauffman; news and a slideshow about “Angels in America” cast. We bid goodbye to Javier Munoz in Hamilton, and watch while Bernadette Peters says Hello, Dolly. And, while there’s news (yet again) about harassment and high ticket prices, as well as fear’s effect on creativity, we are happy to end with Sarah Ruhl explaining her preference for happy endings, even though they’re not in vogue.

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From the Arthur Miller Archives

The Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has acquired the archives of Arthur Miller, from his first play “No Villain” (1936), written when Miller was at the University of Michigan, to “Finishing the Picture” (2004), produced just months before his death.

Here are some items from the 322 linear feet of material, with captions largely provided by the Center.

Martin Luther King Jr on The Three Sicknesses of U.S. Society: Racism, Poverty, and War

On Martin Luther King Day, many people read or listen once again to his most famous speech, from August, 1963,  I Have a Dream, But today, people are finding King’s speech below, delivered four years later, on August 31, 1967, especially apt. Speaking at the first and only National Conference on New Politics in Chicago, he focused on what he considered the “triple prong sickness” of “racism, excessive materialism and militarism,” and exhorted the listeners:

“Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world, declaring eternal opposition to poverty, racism and militarism.”

He said:

“…on some positions; cowardice asks the question, is it safe; expediency asks the question, is it politic; vanity asks the question, is it popular, but conscience asks the question, is it right?”

King was killed seven months later.

Transcribed excerpts of the speech, with some sentences highlighted, are below the audio of the complete speech.

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