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A theater of life as it is now

November 02, 2008

I was inspired by Charles McNulty's essay about our contemporary theater and whether it tells our country's current history ["Afflict the Comfortable? Not Broadway," Oct. 26].

I think this question, this problem, is why I became a playwright some years ago. Because my mother looked me in the eye and said, "Tell our story, make us a part of history." Indeed, I had never exactly seen my family's stories or problems grappled with on the stage. I had seen pieces, growing up, like "Sarafina," that opened my heart and left an indelible mark on my mind. And I decided, I want to help tell history.

Of course, I am defensive of my fellow playwrights like Lucy Thurber, Marcus Gardley, Julia Cho and many others, who are grappling with questions that don't come out of upper-crust brownstones.

But I am also grateful that you have posed this question to the theater community. I hope producers hear your rallying cry. I suspect many playwrights already feel it in their hearts.

Quiara Alegria Hudes

New York

Hudes wrote the book for "In the Heights,"

recipient of the 2008 Tony Award for best musical.

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