Actress Lorraine Stone, Two River Theater artistic director John Dias and Councilman Ed Zipprich are among the Red Bank area notables giving voice to historic American figures in “The People Speak LIVE,” presented free at Red Bank Public Library on Thursday night, December 12.
There’s the escaped slave turned abolitionist and social activist Sojourner Truth, brought to vivid life by local actress Lorraine Stone. The pioneer openly gay elected official Harvey Milk, paid tribute by Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich. The Nobel laureate playwright Eugene O’Neill, channeled by Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias — and Red Bank Regional grad John McMahon as T. Thomas Fortune, the trailblazing African American journalist whose historic Red Bank home is the subject of an intensive rescue and preservation effort.
These and other fascinating figures from America’s past and present will be making their voices heard inside the Red Bank Public Library on the evening of Thursday, December 12, when the T. Thomas Fortune House Preservation Project joins Frank Talk MultiMedia Network and RBPL for “The People Speak LIVE,” an event in which “community-minded people from the greater Red Bank area” recreate the words of pivotal people in our nation’s history. Hosted by journalist, businesswoman and cable TV host Candace Kelley, the 6 p.m. presentation is based on the documentary film “The People Speak” — itself adapted from the late Howard Zinn’s book “A People’s History of the United States.”
While the 2009 doc employed the services of such celebrity readers as Bruce Springsteen, Morgan Freeman, Pink, Bob Dylan, Kerry Washington, Sean Penn, and producers Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, the adapted text has traveled the country as “an inviting tool for people to galvanize their own communities,” and “create discussion about issues that affect the day to day lives of people.”
Among the other local people scheduled to take part in Thursday’s event are community leader and educator Isabel Lopez (as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor); Frank Talk’s Gilda Rogers (paying homage to poet Nikki Giovanni); Phyllis Ledbetter, Director of Asbury Park High School Youth Services Program (saluting Congresswoman Barbara Jordan); Sarah Klepner honoring environmental activist and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy; Michael McCall reading the words of A. Philip Randolph, union organizer and the architect of the March on Washington — and, newly added to the program, attorney John R. Tatulli with a memorable excerpt that honors the voice of Madiba Nelson Mandela.
A discussion period will follow the free performance, and more information on the program can be had by emailing [email protected].