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A wide-ranging Sunnyside artist wants to hear about your anguish and defiance.

Judith Sloan is currently developing “It Can Happen Here,” a theatrical performance exploring xenophobia and repression. As such, she will host “Artist as Global Citizen” at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center on Saturday, March 10, at 2 p.m. Admission is free, but please RSVP.

Part of an ongoing series, this storytelling-and-dialogue event invites community members to share painful and joyful anecdotes. Sloan will process the content as she creates “It Can Happen Here,” a series of monologues mixed with live music and drama in the “Dark Cabaret” style.

The finished show will make its world premiere in the borough this fall before going on the road.

To set the mood on Saturday, soprano and songwriter Alicia Waller will perform. Plus, Meera Nair and Amy Paul, who are “activist writers,” will offer spoken words celebrating democracy, dissent, and resistance.

Funded by Queens Council on the Arts, “It Can Happen Here” gets its title from a Sinclair Lewis novel about a power-hungry politician who uses patriotism to rally citizens. While growing up, Sloan remembers hearing Jewish family members say “It can’t happen here” when discussing the possibility of a Holocaust in the United States.

For the project, she has interviewed DACA recipients, Hurricane Sandy survivors, descendants of Holocaust survivors, refugees, and sexual assault survivors. Her goal is to demonstrate that chaos and hate are often met with compassion, empathy, and collaboration.

Sloan — who has worked as an actress, educator, oral historian, radio producer, and writer — likes to mix it up. Her past interdisciplinary pieces combine satire, pathos, and the absurd. With her husband, Warren Lehrer, she created and presented “Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America,” a book-theater-exhibition-radio project focusing on immigrants and refugees in Queens. The married couple also collaborated with composer Frank London on “1001 Voices: A Symphony for a New America,” which explored gentrification, housing, and diversity with music, words, songs, skits, and visuals.

The last community input session for “It Can Happen Here” took place at York College in Jamaica on Dec. 2.

Images: Judith Sloan


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