Dialogue, Performance and Podcast Event.
Hosted by writer/audio artist/actor Judith Sloan, with guest artists singer/actress Meah Pace, musician/performer Emily Wexler, choreographer/manager of Jamaica Performing Arts Center Courtney Ffrench, singer Priya Darshini, musician and artist Claire Marie Lim.
In a time of xenophobic national policies and a heightened discussion among progressives about issues of race, class, gender and ethnicity, this event aims to elicit and listen to stories that reveal ways that multi-ethnic, multi-racial collaborations address these issues with nuance and accountability. This live event reveals the behind-the scenes process of creating a play that deals with difficult dialogues. Audience members are encouraged to bring stories about dialogues that they have had that were able to bridge a conflict or address misunderstandings. How do we have open conversations in a climate of cancel culture?
Link to signature song: https://itcanhappenhere.hearnow.com/
Made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
THUR | OCT 24 | 8 PM
$5/FREE for Members, Students & Teens (Call Box Office to reserve tickets)
In 2018 Sloan was commissioned to write a new play IT CAN HAPPEN HERE. 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. Judith comes from a lineage of Jewish refugees. Growing up, she often heard the phrase “it can’t happen here,” referring to Hitler and the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust.
For nine months, Sloan — award-winning 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 older man who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy.
“Judith Sloan’s project, It Can Happen Here, is a universal tale that seamlessly landscapes itself into the heart of Jamaica, Queens. Sloan’s new musical play is timely, relevant, reflective and inventive in the way that it explores the socio-economic circumstances of multi-ethnic communities with generational differences. It brilliantly hones in on what we all know to be true: that ultimately, we are all far more similar than we are different.”— Brendez Wineglass, QCA ACP Art Producer and Project Manager for Jamaica Is.
“One of the most significant aspects of Judith Sloan’s artistic expression for me was the community/interview process she undertook to inform some of the stories for It Can Happen Here. Her work is Queens-specific, presenting my immigrant reality, as she holds up a mirror to social and political American culture as a voice of the unheard.” Mala Desai, QCA ACP Art Producer and Artistic Director of Mala’s School of Odissi Dance.