THOUGHTS: Bridges at the Berkeley Playhouse

A fearful Francine Williams (Janelle Lasalle) marches for freedom on Bloody Sunday in Berkeley Playhouse's World Premiere production of Bridges: A New Musical directed by Karen Altree Piemme, performing at the Julia Morgan Theater, Now – March 6, 2016. Photo by Ben Krantz Studio.

Francine Williams (Janelle Lasalle) marches for freedom on Bloody Sunday in 1965 Selma, Alabama. Photo by Ben Krantz Studio.

From now until March 6th, the Berkeley Playhouse is presenting the world premiere of Bridges, a musical by librettist Cheryl L. Davis and composer Douglas J. Cohen. Bridges is set in 1965 in Alabama during the Selma to Montgomery marches and in 2008 in the Bay Area, during a seminal election when Proposition 8 (making same-sex marriage illegal) was on the ballot and Barack Obama was in a race to become our nation’s first African American—and first biracial— president.

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SPOTLIGHT: Cornerstone Theater Company

Cornerstone Theater Company is based in Los Angeles, CA and is dedicated to producing theater with and for the community.  This very concept is what makes Cornerstone so unique.  A typical production at Cornerstone combines professional artists with members of the community. The members of the community all have vary in levels of theater experience, ages, and cultural backgrounds.   Furthermore, the themes of their plays tackle topical issues that the community is currently facing.  Since its inception in 1986, Cornerstone has “commissioned more than 50 playwrights, produced over 80 new works, trained over 2000 students in our methodology, and worked with tens of thousands of people across the country.”

“Any theater that has a result in mind is not having a conversation.”

– Michael John Garcés, Artistic Director

Image Credit: Cornerstone Theater Company

Image Credit: Cornerstone Theater Company

Its vision statement says it all. “We envision a world transformed through the recognition that every individual has the capacity for creativity and each has a story worth telling. We believe that theater can catalyze dialogue around crucial issues and bring together disparate communities. We believe that conversations about the urgent issues of our times must include many voices and diverse perspectives.”

Its current cycle of plays, The Hunger Cycle, consists of new work that addresses the issues of hunger and social justice.  This cycle will span over six years, and nine plays will be produced.  Tonight through April 13, Lunch Lady Courage is playing at the Cocoanut Grove Theatre in Los Angeles.  Check out the trailer for Lunch Lady Courage and get a taste of what Cornerstone is all about (below).