The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) announced the 2015 Spring Public Forum season, featuring an exciting line-up of one-night-only readings and discussions that connect dramatic literature to society. Continuing its fifth year, the popular Public Forum series presents the theater of ideas: conversations and performances with leading voices in politics, media, and the arts.
Public Theater Member tickets, priced at $40, and single tickets, priced at $50, are available now and can be accessed at (212) 967-7555, www.publictheater.org, or in person at the Taub Box Office at The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street. (There is no food or drink minimum for the Public Forum Drama Club series in Joe’s Pub.)
Public Forum’s celebrated Drama Club series returns this spring for DRAMA CLUB: AN EVENING WITH DESDEMONA AND EMILIA on Monday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m. in Joe’s Pub. Shakespeare’s Othello is known famously as a play about race and jealousy – but it’s also a play about sexual politics. Public Forum puts Desdemona and Emilia, two of Shakespeare’s greatest creations, center stage for a timely look at gender roles throughout the ages. The evening will feature Cynthia Nixon as Emilia.
On Monday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m., Public Forum celebrates DRAMA CLUB: 50 YEARS OF FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE WITH EL TEATRO CAMPESINO. In 1965, on the picket lines of Cesar Chavez’s Delano Grape Strike, Luis Valdez founded El Teatro Campesino when he and a group of workers began producing short skits or “actos” to dramatize the conditions of migrant farmworkers, with the workers themselves playing the parts. The company went on to work with Peter Brook, win Obie Awards, and present the first play by a Latino writer on Broadway, Valdez’s Zoot Suit, the film version of which would also earn a Golden Globe nomination for Best Musical or Comedy.
To celebrate the company’s 50th Anniversary, Public Forum presents two of those original actos as part of its celebrated Drama Club series with a cast of major Latino talents and thinkers, including Valdez and his son Lakin Valdez, artist-in-residence with Teatro Campesino, as well as journalist and activist Maria Hinojosa and spoken word artist and playwright Lemon Andersen. With immigration and the plight of the working class once more in the news, these sharp, funny plays will provoke an illuminating discussion into whether art can change social policy and how protest can also be poetry.
Public Forum will close its spring season with a very special adaptation of Sophocles’ classic with DRAMA CLUB: ANTIGONE on Sunday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m. Rinne Groff (The Public’s Ruby Sunrise, Compulsion) brings a taut one-act version of Ian Johnston’s translation just in time for beginning of the 2016 election cycle. The evening will see thinkers and actors alike discussing the ethics of power, free speech, and the cost of wisdom. In addition to Groff, the evening will also feature Denis O’Hare, president and CEO of the New America Foundation Anne-Marie Slaughter, and more.
PUBLIC FORUM, now in its fifth season, presents the theater of ideas: performances and conversations that explore dramatic literature as a way to understand society. Alec Baldwin, Anne Hathaway, Cynthia Nixon, Sam Waterston, and former NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman have hosted its programs, which have featured the insights of Kurt Andersen, David Brooks, David Byrne, Tony Kushner, Rachel Maddow, Wynton Marsalis, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Suzan-Lori Parks, Salman Rushdie, David Simon, Anna Deavere Smith, Stephen Sondheim, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, young veterans of the war in Afghanistan - plus performances and readings by Christine Baranski, Annette Bening, Jessica Chastain, Billy Collins, Matt Damon, E.L. Doctorow, Holly Hunter, James Earl Jones, Audra McDonald, and Vanessa Redgrave, among others. The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation provides lead support for The Public’s access and engagement programming.