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Judith Sloan’s Artist Commissioning Program project, It Can Happen Here, is a reference to the Sinclair Lewis novel It Can’t Happen Here, which chronicled the fictitious election of a power-hungry politician who stirred up fear by promising a return to patriotism. For nine months Sloan — playwright/actor and longtime chronicler of Queens (Crossing the BLVD, 1001 Voices: Symphony for a New America) — talked with residents of Southeastern Queens about our hopes, fears, and aspirations.
“What struck me over and over were stories of love and support that often fly under the radar in times of extreme duress. I decided to zoom in on conversations between women. Like the novel It Can’t Happen Here, my play is inspired by real events,” says Sloan.
In It Can Happen Here, two hairdressers—one black, one white— in an ever-changing neighborhood in Queens, embark on a new dream. They follow their passion for singing and nurturing a community in the midst of a national political climate of chaos, division and autocracy. Through their journey they reveal stories of their customers, family members and neighbors, including a DACA recipient, an immigration lawyer, and an elder who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy.