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Frontlines: Stories from the Edge - Global Theatre: Performance Series - Curated by Cheryl Wiesenfeld - Written and Directed by Melanie Hoopes


The world has changed.

A 2018-2020 survey revealed 60 percent of Americans struggle with loneliness, and the numbers increase to 75 percent for younger people. There is little solace to be found. Screens are ever present, social media is in play, and the pandemic changed us, some would argue, forever. We are more isolated, more defensive, more mistrusting. Our Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has sounded the alarm on “the loneliness epidemic.” Murthy states that loneliness poses real threats to both mental and physical health, among them: higher risks of depression, anxiety, cardiovascular illness, dementia, and sleep disturbances.

And those are the quieter, more personal effects of a society in a crisis. There are other heartbreaking catastrophic outcomes of isolation and lack of connection to others: rampant gun violence, sky-rocketing drug overdoses, and soaring deaths by suicide. There is no end in sight to this escalation.

So many are angry, in pain, and out of control.

  • We are a nation of people emotionally and physically stressed out.
  • We are isolated, depressed, and alienated.
  • We are politically, socially, and culturally divided.

Where do we go from here? What are the signs of hope? How do we get there?

We’ll share stories from real people – students, parents, and elders in our community who’ve learned how to connect to others and themselves to forge a path toward more meaningful lives. We will hear from spiritual leaders, teachers, law enforcement personnel, guidance counselors, psychological advisors, and social science professors, along with those who’ve found their footing in the new, uncertain, chaotic landscape of our times. Through their stories, we can find a way back home together.

CHERYL WIESENFELD is a Broadway and off-Broadway producer with many plays and musicals to her credit. She has won numerous awards for her productions, including the Drama League, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, N.Y. Drama Critics awards, as well as four Tony Awards. Her prime interest is plays that deal with the social condition.

MELANIE HOOPES is a writer/director/performer whose credits include Kindness Committee, Six Feet: A Play About What’s Between Us (RiverArts), Murder Birds! (or Suspending Tati Copeland) (Rivertowns LAB), Lethal Lit (IHeartRadio, EEP), One Giant Leap: The Apollo Moon Landing 50 Years On (New York Times), and Bloodline (Netflix). She is the creator of the long-running New York-based episodic stage show, Laurie Stanton’s Sound Diet, a dark, modern twist on Prairie Home Companion. She is a producer and host of Yesteryear: Stories from Home, a podcast about the history of living in a small village on the Hudson River. Her public radio credits include work for WNYC, KCRW and WBUR, including This American Life and Studio 360. Melanie has written and performed four solo shows on subjects ranging from obesity to aging

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