The Actors’ Gang and Tim Robbins are pleased to announce the upcoming North American Tour of The New Colossus for the 2019–2020 season.
Directed and co-written by Academy Award–winning Tim Robbins (Mystic River, Dead Man Walking, The Shawshank Redemption), the show will play a limited tour and visit cities such as Charlotte, NC, Detroit, MI, Seattle, WA, Nashville, TN and others. See the current tour route here. Additional engagements and casting will be announced later.
The New Colossus tells the true stories of 12 refugees from 12 different time periods, fleeing from violence and oppression in a journey toward freedom. In this intensely physical production, a group of actors from all over the world tell their ancestors’ stories, all woven into a single narrative about escaping their homeland, surviving the arduous journey as they are drawn to the beacon above Ellis Island.
The northern migration after the Civil War is where the story starts, with a woman, a freed slave, who heads north, up the Mississippi River, to escape the death squads of the KKK; a Finnish woman flees the Russian invasion in 1904 and winds up in Superior, Arizona; a Jewish woman escapes the Nazis and arrives in Brooklyn, New York in 1938; a Malaysian child acrobat, born into a family of performers, escapes the Japanese invasion and makes her way to San Francisco in 1944; a Hungarian flees Communism in 1950; a woman risks her life to escape Vietnam after Saigon falls and comes to Los Angeles in 1978; an Iranian whose family is in danger after the revolution in 1979 comes to Colorado; a Mexican woman who fears for her life in a town run by a drug cartel flees to California in 1993; and a Turkish dissident attempts to flee Istanbul in 2017.
Performed in 12 languages with live music, poetry and kinetic movement, the play concludes with a question—who are we as a nation? Set between 1868 and today, The New Colossus is an homage to the strength, resilience and dignity of the immigrants and refugees who left their homes behind and risked their lives to find a better life.
Director Tim Robbins states, “The story of our ancestors’ journeys to freedom are epic stories of survival, full of difficulty, danger, distrust, camaraderie and courage, of insurmountable obstacles overcome by hope and heroism. The New Colossus is a story of resilience, of extraordinary people living through extremely difficult challenges, holding on to their desire to survive, to live and breathe in freedom.”
The New Colossus shares a title with the sonnet written by poet Emma Lazarus in 1883 for an exhibit to raise funds for the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, which opened in 1886. Even though the Statue of Liberty was not conceived as a symbol of immigration, Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” reinvented the statue’s purpose, turning Liberty into a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope to the outcasts and oppressed of the world.
“In every generation, there’s a new wave of people who hold so much hope, and so much passion for the idea of freedom that they leave everything they know and love behind and risk their lives to attain it. This is a story that unites us from our beginnings until now,” added Robbins.
At the end of each performance, the actors will engage the audience and ask them to share either their experience of immigration or their family’s experience. People from all over the world have been found in The New Colossus audience; a true representation of the character and makeup of this country we share.