Thursday, January 14, 2021

Dear Mr. President and Madam Vice President

The Dramatists Guild today delivered to the incoming President and Vice President of the United States letters written by playwrights, lyricists, and composers from across the country.

Our message is clear. The arts are vital to our country, both economically and spiritually. With the country facing so many challenges, the arts have got to be part of the solution, and we are asking the new administration to think big.

You can read a selection of letters here, including my own. Other dramatists who contributed letters include David Ives, Ken LudwigTheresa Rebeck, and John Weidman, to name just a few.

In the wake of COVID-19 and the economic devastation it has caused, some dramatists have suggested that we could revive the Federal Theatre Project, which in the 1930s paved the way for the golden ages of both Broadway and Hollywood. This could potentially help to knit back together our frayed body politic, as well as provide relief to arts workers who have been made unemployed through no fault of their own.

Alternatively, we could do what the great American playwright Arthur Miller urged us to do, and create a national theatre. While the Kennedy Center provides a home for arts organizations, our nation still has no official national theatre with funding from the government, a situation lamented not just by Democrats like President Kennedy, but by Republicans like President Eisenhower as well. We could at long last rectify that situation, perhaps naming the new national theatre for Arthur Miller.

Whatever we do, however, we must do it now. America does not have a moment to lose.