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Kelley Nicole Girod and Zhailon Levingston on the Obie-winning fest showcasing Black playwrights
What do playwrights Dominique Morisseau, Katori Hall, Jocelyn Bioh and Marcus Gardley have in common? They all had early works showcased at The Fire This Time Festival. Founded in 2010 and named in honor of James Baldwin's powerful 1963 book The Fire Next Time, this annual event spotlights up-and-coming Black dramatists as they explore their ever-evolving culture in 10-minute plays, the festival's signature form. From July 7 to 10 at the Kraine Theater in the East Village, the Obie Award-winning fest will present seven new playlets, what founder Kelley Nicole Girod calls "a buffet" of the spectrum of the Black experience. We brought Girod and director Zhailon Levingston (Broadway's Chicken & Biscuits, Tina - The Tina Turner Musical) together to talk about The Fire This Time Festival's history, what it means to the Black theatre community and why representation on stage is more essential than ever. If you weren't able to tune in live you can watch a recording below. Captions are available.
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Top image: Zhailon Levingston and Kelley Nicole Girod.