Welcome to American Blues Theater’s 31st Season “Define Yourself”. We are honored to present the Chicago premiere of The Columnist written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner David Auburn. It is a distinct privilege for our production team to collaborate with Mr. Auburn. To have him sit in rehearsals, accessible throughout the creative process with feedback, and participate with our audience is a singular gift to our storefront theater.
We first read The Columnist in 2012 and immediately sought the licensing rights. While unavailable for years, our passion to tell this narrative never waned as it spoke to our mission. American Blues tells stories about American identity. We were struck by historical figure, American journalist Joseph Alsop’s patriotism for his county; his belief that a newspaper column could influence U.S. policy and shape a nation; that his personal life needed to remain private to maintain his professional reputation. We read this script as a poignant reminder of how things were in America.
Five years since that first reading, we have experienced President Obama’s second term in office, two years of vitriolic partisan campaigning, news that Russia tried to compromise our democratic process, and the inauguration of President Trump. Many Americans seemingly turned to news outlets that corresponded to their core values with data interpreted to their bias. Regardless of one’s political views, there is a column to confirm your belief.
For hundreds of years, unification of the American people has been extraordinarily difficult. Perhaps it is not a politician to unite us, but a journalist – a person who presents the facts neutrally and gently like a salve for our divisive times.