A message from Jim Umhoefer, President of the Sinclair Lewis Foundation…
Whatever one's political leanings, it is wise to study and learn from the past. That was one of James Gambone's inspirations to produce and direct a dramatic reading of the play It Can't Happen Here before a sold-out audience of 280 at the Jewish Community Center in Minneapolis on October 30, 2018.
Gambone is an accomplished and award-winning multi-media writer, producer, director, and distributor from the Twin Cities. His award-winning documentary and short dramatic films and videos have been aired on PBS, local and regional cable networks, and distributed in Australia, Norway, and Germany.
Gambone, like Sinclair Lewis, is concerned about rising anti-democratic activities occurring throughout the country and the world. Lewis, in his novel, offered a stern warning about the fragility of democracy. It Can't Happen Here demonstrated how quickly things can move towards more authoritarian rule when people are divided, slogans begin replacing real dialogue, and cooperative action regarding social and economic issues fails.
Based on the success and audience response to this dramatic reading of the play It Can't Happen Here, James Gambone is expanding on his effort over the next two years. Specifically, he will:
• Produce a 1930s-style, hour-long radio play based on Lewis' novel and the two plays that Lewis created, distributing it to community radio stations throughout the U.S. The radio production will be rich in effects. This project has never been done before with the book or play.
• Create and promote a podcast to explore the rise of authoritarianism and produce a study guide for book clubs, and high school and college classes. The podcast would be available through the website created for the project.
• Contact national theater companies and urge them to put a dramatic reading of It Can't Happen Here or a full production of the play on their 2020 theater schedules.
The Sinclair Lewis Foundation of Sauk Centre is serving as the sponsoring fiscal agent for the project over the next two years.
A personal message from James Gambone…
Converting the subject of the play into a radio drama is timely to remind everyone of the fragility of democracy, and the sacred obligation we have to exercise our voting franchise in 2020.
I have everything needed to produce and distribute this unique Get Out The Vote campaign message—except the funding. I will be providing monthly updates beginning in January, 2019, for everyone who contributes.
Please make a contribution toward the fundraising goal of $120,000 for this 2-year (2019-2020) project. Thank you!