Sunday, October 23, 2011

It Did Happen Here: The Federal Theatre Project

Seventy-five years ago this week, there was a singular event in American history as well as American theatre: one play opened simultaneously in 18 cities, to overflow audiences. It Can’t Happen Here was a play about how a fascist dictatorship might take over the United States, written by Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

This 1936 production was the most ambitious effort of the Federal Theatre Project, part of the Works Progress Administration which sought to break the cycle of economic depression in the 1930s by employing millions of Americans in construction, conservation and other endeavors, including the arts.

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