Immigration, Arts and Activism: Brian Lehrer Hosts a Performance and Talkback of 'Yo Miss!'

Watch live September 29 at 7pm ET

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Judith Sloan performs Yo Miss! (Photo courtesy of Judith Sloan)

Join WNYC's Brian Lehrer for a performance of and conversation about award-winning actor Judith Sloan's sometimes funny, sometimes sad, always truth-telling show about immigrant, refugee and incarcerated youth grappling with the cataclysmic events that shaped them.

Fusing theatre, poetry and music, Yo Miss! creates an opportunity for understanding and cross-cultural, cross-generational dialogue. Using midi-controllers and an original musical score to accompany her compelling performance, Sloan remixes her own traumatic experiences with those of her students and transforms into a multitude of characters ages 14 to 80 years young. 

The award-winning actor, audio-artist and educator traces the ripple effects of the Holocaust on her family and how that binds her to refugees today and to diasporic Queens. Amidst the inflammatory rhetoric that outweighs reason in our current electoral season, Yo Miss! creates an opportunity for understanding and cross-cultural, cross-generational dialogue. Written and performed by Judith Sloan. Accompanied by Andrew Griffin on viola. Direction by Matt Gould. Dramaturg Morgan Jenness.

After the performance, Brian Lehrer will host a conversation about cross-cultural collaborations, immigration, the arts and activism including Yo Miss! creator Judith Sloan, NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs commissioner Nisha Agarwal and Eliana Garcia a former student from the first year of Sloan's theatre program, now in its 15th year. 


 

About the Performers, Creative Team and Panelists

Nisha Agarwal is an accomplished public interest lawyer and a leading voice in immigration reform at the local and national level. Her tenure as the Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs is marked by her entrepreneurial drive and proven record of enacting pro-immigrant legislation. She led the development and implementation of IDNYC, the country's largest municipal identification program, ensuring that all New Yorkers can have the peace of mind and security that comes from recognized identification. Commissioner Agarwal received her B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School and was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University. She currently lives in Brooklyn.

Eliana Garcia graduated from the International High School at LaGuardia Community College in 2004 and went on to receive her bachelor's degree in early childhood education. She currently teaches first grade at Beginning with Children Charter School in Williamsburg. She lives in Queens with her son Nathaniel. 

Matt Gould is the co-writer of the musical Invisible Thread/Witness Uganda, which had its Off Broadway premiere at Second Stage Theater and premiered at The American Repertory Theater.  He’s the recipient of the 2012 and 2014 Richard Rodgers Award for musical theater. Other shows include Lempicka (NAMT 2016), Twilight in Manchego (winner Jonathan Larson Award), The Family Project (Center Theater Group commission), and Romeo and Juliet in Pulaar (Director: Mauritania, West Africa.) 

An award winning performer, composer, and orchestrator, Andrew Griffin is an advocate for classical music and classical crossover.  His musical endeavors have led him to perform in such diverse settings as The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, the Palace Theatre on Broadway, and in the viola section of the Houston Symphony Orchestra.  He has also worked alongside several acclaimed artists including multi-Grammy Award winning artist Lauryn Hill and Tony-Award winning director Diane Paulus. Recently, Andrew collaborated in the orchestrations for Invisible Thread Off-Broadway, where he was also a performer.

Morgan Jenness, creative director of In This Distracted Globe provides dramaturgical, developmental, producorial and promotional guidance for theatrical and performance projects. She is the recipient of a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award and a 2003 OBIE Award Special Citation for Longtime Support of Playwrights. She has spent almost three decades working as a dramaturg and creative consultant for theaters (including the Public Theater, LATC and NYTW) and developmental workshops, university theater programs, funding organizations, ensembles and individual artists across the country.  

Judith Sloan (co-founder of EarSay) is co-author of Crossing the BLVD, (Brendan Gill Prize 2004), book, performance, exhibition (premiered Queens Museum of Art) and radio series aired  WNYC and NPR affiliates 2001 through 2007. Sloan wrote the libretto for 1001 Voices: A Symphony for a New America with music by Frank London commissioned by Queens Symphony Orchestra 2012. She is the recipient of a 2013 New York Foundation on the Arts (NYFA) fellowship, is a member of the faculty at NYU's Gallatin School and the recipient of a 2009 Partership in Education Award from the International High School at LaGuardia Community College. Her performance works include: Yo Miss! (La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, 2016), Denial of the FittestA Tattle Tale (aired NPR and performed at La Mama, HERE, and Public Theater).

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