This September, Maryland's largest regional theater CENTERSTAGE will premiere MY AMERICA, a first-of-its kind project that features a thought-provoking collection of 50 original monologues written and performed by some of the nation's leading playwrights and stage actors. Commissioned by CENTERSTAGE's new Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah in celebration of the institution's 50th anniversary season, My America explores the state of our country through the eyes of playwrights in response to a simple question: "What is my America?"
"Part of my vision as Artistic Director is to make CENTERSTAGE a catalyst for engaging artistic and civic conversations," says Kwei-Armah, an international playwright himself. "My America lends a voice and a platform to the current voices in American Theater and allows them explore who we are as a country. We are thrilled to debut this new project, which will undoubtedly help bring CENTERSTAGE into the national spotlight."
Filmed by Possible Films, led by award-winning director Hal Hartley, this collection of original monologues includes writers ranging from Christopher Durang, Marcus Gardley, and Quiara Alegría Hudes to Neil LaBute, Anna Deavere Smith, and Lynn Nottage. Among the actors filming the monologues are Tracie Thoms (Rent), Carrie Preston (True Blood), Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn (Lost), Bobby Cannavale (Nurse Jackie), and theater favorites Kathleen Chalfant, Jefferson Mays, and Kristine Nielsen.
My America is supported by Lynn and Tony Deering and The Charlesmead Foundation.
The film's debut comes just in time for the 2012 presidential election. Through an artist's lens, each monologue touches on a range of topics, from the personal to the political, including:
- Gender, sexuality, and marriage equality
- Health and healthcare
- Employment, unemployment, and the workplace
- Art and creativity
- Family, children, parenthood, childhood and aging
- America at war
- Home and homelessness
CENTERSTAGE will host the world premiere of the My America project on September 28, debuting select videos and live readings, and opening up conversations with some of the playwrights. The filmed monologues will be showcased online and at the theater throughout the 2012-13 Season. Visit www.centerstage.org/MyAmerica for videos and schedule.
CENTERSTAGE, the State Theater of Maryland, celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season in 2012-13. The professional, nonprofit company serves as a local hub and national leader for provocative, entertaining theater and as a catalyst for conversation in the community. Each year, a broad range of productions in two intimate performance spaces attracts a highly diverse audience of more than 100,000 people-including more than 8,000 fiercely loyal members. Under the leadership of acclaimed playwright, actor, and director Kwame Kwei-Armah (Artistic Director) and national arts leader Stephen Richard (Managing Director), CENTERSTAGE enters its 50th year with a renewed dedication to the production of world-class theater in the heart of Baltimore.
CENTERSTAGE's 50th Anniversary is made possible by DLA Piper, M&T Bank, The Rouse Company Foundation, T. Rowe Price and the T. Rowe Price Foundation, Ellen and Ed Bernard, James and Janet Clauson, Lynn and Tony Deering and The Charlesmead Foundation, Judy and Scott Phares, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Smith; and season media partners Maryland Public Television, The Baltimore Sun, WYPR, and WBAL.
CENTERSTAGE is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to non-profit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.