Letter 17 (and D.C. theatre)

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Senator John McCain (R-Arizona)

218 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2235

The photo above was taken at Arena Stage, a sprawling performing arts center in D.C., located at the fast-expanding Waterfront. They produce exceptional American theatre, including classics such as My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof, while also building an extensive repertoire of original, political, and avant-garde plays. The talent – on stage and behind the scenes – is staggering. They recently just closed Roe, a story of the historic Roe vs. Wade case (but also the controversial woman at its center). Coming to its end is Intelligence, about the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame during the Bush Administration. Arena has not been secretive about the fact that they are making a concerted effort to have political issues be their signature theme. In this time, and especially in this city, I think this is exactly what we need. Washingtonian magazine ran a great piece about the female playwright of Intelligence, and it fueled me even more to go see it. I just bought my ticket using Arena’s “pay your age” discount.

If you’re looking for other spots to find intellectually stimulating, creative, and surprising theatre, try Woolly Mammoth and Synetic. These theatres, and many others, often offer discounts for students, or “Pay Your Own Age” deals. Look around and call for these really deep discounts – it’s worth it.

With threats of cuts to arts programs, we need free expression and the power of performance and art to get us through these harsh times now more than ever. It can change lives and spark movements. Support your local theatres, no matter where you are and no matter how small the size of the stage. You won’t realize how much you’ll miss them until they’re gone.

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