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“Your huddled masses…” Griffin Theatre’s ‘In To America’ at CLC

Web posted March 12, 2019
Chicago-based Griffin Theatre Company brings their world premiere drama ‘In To America’ to the Chalberg Stage on March 29. As part of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center’s Cultural Arts Series, the play will perform at 7:30 p.m.

Using personal diaries, journals, and documented historic narratives ‘In To America’ traces the American immigrant experience from Jamestown to present day through the true stories of ordinary men, women and children who departed their homelands in the hopes of creating a new life. It is an extraordinary story 400 years in the making that transcends time, space and race to reflect the diversity and the true stories of commonalities of our shared American experience.

Series Producer Patrick Spradlin notes that this is the third time he’s presented the Griffin Theatre. “We had them here with two other shows---‘Letters Home,’ which was a powerful contemporary story about men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, told through their correspondence with loved ones in the states. And, more recently, ‘Ghosts of War,’ a soldier’s true story of service. The author/soldier, Ryan Smithson, led discussion after the play. Both were tremendous productions and very well received.”

‘In To America’ employs the use of images and video projected behind the actors as they perform the pieces as dramatic monologues. To enhance the theatrical experience of the play all performances are followed by a post-play discussion.

“We tend to forget that the Pilgrims were the first immigrants to this new land,” says Spradlin. “Today, our conversation about immigrants and immigration is so fraught with political side-taking that we would all do well to look at the entirety of the immigrant experience.”

The production has been met with much praise and critical acclaim. The ‘Chicago Theatre Review’ called it '…moving, an educational and entertaining evening of theatre.’ The Chicago Sun Times lauded the ‘richly diverse and skillful cast of 13’ and noted that ‘its message rings out loudly and clearly: Immigration, the very life blood of this country from the start, has never been entirely free, fair or easy.” The Chicago Reader proclaimed it “highly recommended... the excellent 13 actors plays multiple roles, representing an astonishing range of ethnic back-grounds with emotional authenticity and pinpoint-precise accents.”

Celebrating its twenty-eighth season, the Griffin Theatre Company produces literary adaptations, original work and classic plays that challenge and inspire, with wit, style and compassion for the audience.

Tickets for ‘In To America’ are available from the CLC Theatre Box Office at (218) 855-8199 or online at www.clcperformingarts.com

‘In to America’ is sponsored by the Central Lakes College Office of Equity and Inclusion. This production is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

The entire CLC Performing Arts Center season is made possible in part by an operating grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

- photo submitted

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