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NYTW Announces Free Series of Public Readings Reflecting on Political History

Artistic Director James C. Nicola and Managing Director William Russo have announced that New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) will present its 2008 Pre-Election Series, a program of public readings and events timed to this year’s historic presidential election.  The series, which is free to the public, reflects on our country’s political history, and in so doing, shines a spotlight on the current and future political landscape.  At times unsettling, even subversive, each event will contribute to the public discourse and spark challenging conversations as we approach this momentous election.  From the 19th century, to the furor of the 1960s, to the current administration, we find eerie echoes that remind us that our history is not far behind us.

A staged reading of


A Play of American Politics, War, and Protest taken from the historical record

by Elinor Fuchs and Joyce Antler

directed by Moisés Kaufman
Monday, September 22nd at 7:00pm

This award-winning documentary play, YEAR ONE OF THE EMPIRE, written as a white-hot act of political protest by a theater critic and historian, takes an often hilarious, grotesque, and finally tragic journey through the launching of the American empire at the turn of the twentieth century.  On the heels of the Spanish-American War, the U.S. seized Spain’s most important Pacific colonial trophy, the Philippine Islands, and became embroiled in a prolonged, bloody war to subdue resistance to American occupation.  Avowed imperialists like President William McKinley and a fast-rising Theodore Roosevelt maneuvered the U.S. into empire while the anti-imperialist movement vigorously protested imperial policy and the increasingly extreme methods of the U.S. Army—including, most notoriously, the widespread use of water torture.  Called “an exciting blend of theatrical and historical imagination,” by the New York Times Book Review when it was first published, the play unfolds in actual historical language an account of the American conquest of the Philippine Islands in 1900 with shocking parallels to the Iraq War and Vietnam before it.

A Public Reading of Dennis Kucinich’s


Curated by Deb Margolin

Part of Fourth Arts Block’s FAB Festival

Saturday, September 27th from 11:00am-4:00pm

NYTW and playwright/performance artist Deb Margolin host an open, public reading of the 35 Articles of Impeachment that Dennis Kucinich read into the Congressional record on June 9th of this year.  We are calling all citizens to come read and listen.  Over the course of five hours, participants can come and go, listen and take over the reading at any time.  It will be a somber yet joyous community event in which the enumeration of the charges against George W. Bush will be fully read and considered.  Surprise guest stars will be on hand to read.

This event takes place during FAB Festival, an outdoor block party and open house on East 4th St, with outdoor stages, videos, art installations, dance classes and more.  For over 30 years, East 4th Street has embraced the new, diverse, and experimental in theater, film, and art.  Fourth Arts Block (FAB) is a coalition of 15 arts and community groups leading the effort to develop permanent homes for the arts and preserve the unique cultural nature of the block and East Village.

An evening with Mark Crispin Miller


directed by Gregory Keller

Monday, October 6th at 7:00pm

Mark Crispin Miller is a Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at NYU and a longtime proponent of democracy in the United States.  Join him for a public meditation on the issues of the minute.  Miller’s books include The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder, Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order, Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform and, most recently, Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008.  He is, as well, a prolific blogger, at News from Underground ( Miller is also well-known as a speaker and performer.  After 9/11, when his criticism of the Bush regime was unofficially verboten, he turned to theater, and started doing a kind of journalistic stand-up.  From there he moved on to NYTW, where, working with director Gregory Keller and co-performer Steve Cuiffo, he wrote and starred in Patriot Act: A Public Meditation, presented in the summer of 2004 as a contribution to the public discourse prior to the last presidential election.  Four years later, the discussion continues.

A staged reading of


by Gore Vidal

directed by Leigh Silverman

Monday, November 3rd at 7:00pm

It’s 1968 and the Republican Party is in a struggle for its conscience.  Four years earlier after an explosive rise by Barry Goldwater and the far right, Goldwater became the Republican nominee for President running against LynDon Johnson.  Crushingly defeated, the Republican Party was left in disarray.  Now the longstanding progressive core of the party is attempting to make a comeback.  Republican Senator Charles MacGruder is preparing to announce his candidacy for president and make a bold statement against the Vietnam War, when his son arrives for the weekend with shocking and potentially career-ending news.  WEEKEND premiered on Broadway in the spring of 1968, in the heat of the campaign during which it is set, and Vidal’s biting political humor is no less relevant today.  In a whirlwind of self-righteousness, bigotry, blackmail, and opportunism, conservative values are called into question—even into direct contradiction—as pollsters and loyalists try to contain the damage and protect their candidate from the swirling media circus.  As politicians question their consciences in the midst of scandal, we get a prescient snapshot of a critical moment in our nation’s political history.

Casting for all readings will be announced soon.

New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW), now celebrating its 26th season, is a leading voice in the world of Off-Broadway and within the theatre community in New York and around the world. NYTW has emerged as a premiere incubator of important new theatre, honoring its mission to explore perspectives on our collective history and respond to the events and institutions that shape our lives. In addition, NYTW is known for its innovative adaptations of classic repertory. Each season, from its home in New York's East Village neighborhood, NYTW presents three to five new productions, over 80 readings, and numerous workshop productions, for over 45,000 audience members. Over the past 26 years, NYTW has developed and produced over 100 new, fully staged works, including Jonathan Larson's Rent, Tony Kushner's Slavs! and Homebody/Kabul, Doug Wright's Quills, Claudia Shear's Blown Sideways Through Life and Dirty Blonde, Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told and Valhalla, and Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest, Far Away, and A Number. The 2002 remounting of Martha Clarke's seminal work Vienna: Lusthaus and subsequent American tour was one of the longest-running productions in NYTW's history.  NYTW supports artists in all stages of their careers by maintaining a series of workshop programs including work-in-progress readings, summer residencies, and minority artist fellowships. In 1991, NYTW received an OBIE Award for Sustained Achievement and in 2000 was designated to be part of the Leading National Theatres Program by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

All events are free, open to the public, and will take place at New York Theatre Workshop, 79 East 4th Street NYTW Repeat Defenders can reserve tickets in advance for the Monday evening readings by e-mailing and NYTW Members can reserve tickets in advance for the Monday evening readings by e-mailing  Tickets for the public are available at the NYTW Box Office on a first-come, first-served basis. Please visit for more information.

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