The theater community comes together for a special anti-censorship podcast

NEW YORK (AP) — The theater community is coming together for a special anti-censorship podcast featuring threatened performances of plays and musicals and appearances by Bryan Cranston, Raul Esparza, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Richard Kind.

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund’s “Banned Together: An Anti-Censorship Podcast” has readings, scenes, and excerpts from works including Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America,” Jonathan Larson’s “Rent,” and Eve’s “The Vagina Monologues.” Ensler. It’s available to download now through September 24 in conjunction with Banned Books Week.

“Boldly exposing this art is really important,” said Tony winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa Kron, who is twice featured on the podcast. She listens to her and Jeanine Tesori’s song “Changing My Major” from “Fun Home,” and Kron also performs a scene from “The Vagina Monologues.”

Other works featured include Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s “An Octoroon,” Paula Vogel’s “Indecent,” Alice Childress’s “Trouble in Mind,” Moises Kaufman’s “The Laramie Project,” Nilo Cruz’s “Anna in the Tropics,” and ” My Name is Rachel Corrie” by Rachel Corrie.

Highlights include Cranston playing attorney Roy Cohn and Kind playing his doctor in a scene from “Angels in America,” Keenan-Bolger doing a monologue from “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” and Esparza reading a devastating section of ” The Laramie Project”. The Stonewall Chorale performs “Seasons of Love” from “Rent.”

The podcast makes clear that producers and schools sometimes face local pressure to avoid or scrap plans for plays and musicals that explore race and sexuality.

“Every time there has been progress in terms of expanding civil rights, the right to vote, the American promise that involves multiracial, multigender, full voting rights and much more full democracy, every time that has happened, there has been a backlash. And that’s happening right now,” Kron said.

Kron also fears that theater creators will start beating around the bush in anticipation of what might happen. “One of the insidious ways that this type of censorship moves is self-censorship,” he said.

The podcast is hosted by Lydia Diamond and Cheryl Davis, board members of the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund. Greg Jarrett serves as musical director.

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Mark Kennedy is in http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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