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City Love Song: Home

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Jack Finnegan
January 3, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Creator and performer.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
Storytelling is at the heart of all art. It is also central to communication. Stories are instrumental to the way we understand our world and talk about our lives. Oral storytelling is an art form as old as language, and is practiced, to various degree, by each of us. And because it requires a shared physical presence, it is intimate and personal. I work in narrative non-fiction. My stories are drawn from first-hand observations, which are driven in turn by an empathetic view of humankind. I know we have problems, y'all. But I still love us. Can't help it. Wanna tell you stories about it.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this winter that...?
...can plunge you into cities from all around the world.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
Three years ago, when this project was begun, I didn't have the first idea that I would circle the world, let alone create a show about the people met and places seen out there! My first and final goal in 2009 had been to perform stories about New York City across America. But when that tour was complete, I knew I had an opportunity to create new work, and felt I had a duty to lift my hands and meet that challenge. So a story about America was born. Doors opened to the Edinburgh Fringe, and then 59E59 Theaters. Then the natural evolution of the project emerged: I had taken New York City to America; I would now take America to the world. This was accomplished in 2011: I delivered the "America" story in the public squares of 13 cities across 6 continents. Those cities then became the basis of another national tour, in 2012, telling tales of our global neighborhood in 30 American cities. Now I return to my beloved New York City, for the final performances of these global stories, and the finale of a project that has taken me more than eighty thousand miles to complete. It is absolutely banana-pants crazy that this has all happened, however. I never, ever forget that.

Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
Bruce Springsteen, who, it is claimed, has said, "I like narrative storytelling as being part of a tradition, a folk tradition."

Who are your heroes?
Any person who honors the dignity of other human beings.