Voices of a People's History
Voices of a People's History


The People Speak, Live! at the Metro

January 31, 2012
Voices of a People's History


An evening of dramatic readings and songs of rebels, dissenters, visionairies, and prophets from our past—and present.

Featuring Matt Damon with Chicago poets Angela Jackson, Kevin Coval, Idris Goodwin, avery r. young, and Louder Than a Bomb All-Stars Malcolm London and She’Kira McKnight; Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble members Alana Arenas and Robert Breuler; Chicago Tribune journalist Rick Kogan; civic leader Rami Nashashibi of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network; The Luna Blues Machine with sisters Belinda and Maritza Cervantes; performer Lani T. Montreal of Pintig CIRCA Culture Group; actor Brian Quijada; Pastor Phil Jackson of the Firehouse Community Arts Center; activist Ameena Matthews; and, more special guests to be announced. With DJ Itch13 on the 1s and 2s.

Produced by Voices of a People’s History in collaboration with Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival.

“Democracy does not come from the top. It comes from the bottom.” —Howard Zinn in The People Speak.

“If you want to read a real history book, read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. That book will knock you on your f—king ass.” —Matt Damon as Will Hunting in Good Will Hunting

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
6:00pm Doors
7:00pm Show

3730 N. Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois 60613

This is an all ages show.

Bringing to life the extraordinary history of ordinary people who made the United States what it is today, “The People Speak, Live!” pairs Academy Award winner Matt Damon with local Chicago talent for dramatic readings and songs of the actual words of rebels, dissenters, prophets, and visionaries from America’s past—and present.

“The People Speak, Live!” is based on the award-winning documentary feature The People Speak, which had its broadcast premiere on HISTORY™ in December 2009. Seen by more than eight million people, The People Speak features Matt Damon reading John Steinbeck; Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen in original performances of Woody Guthrie songs; Marisa Tomei describing the 1937 Flint sit-down strike; Morgan Freeman and Don Cheadle performing the words of Frederick Douglass; John Legend reading Muhammad Ali; and, many other artists bringing to life both the acclaimed and anonymous in U.S. history.

The Chicago live show features readings of a fifteenth century priest documenting Columbus’ arrival in the New World; a fugitive slave’s scathing letter to a former master; troubadours of the Dust Bowl and Vietnam Warm eras; testimony of civil rights activists; remembrances of Chicago’s early labor organizers; poetry from the earliest days of Hip-Hop; little-known texts by celebrated leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr.; Studs Terkel’s interview with Mamie Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till; and more.

Voices of a People’s History—the national non-profit that runs education and performing arts programs based on primary source materials—is producing the January 31 performance in partnership with Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival.

Bringing together hundreds of youth across Chicago every year, Louder Than A Bomb is the city’s famous youth spoken word program, celebrating its twelfth year in 2012 with the January broadcast premiere on the Oprah Winfrey Network of the award-winning documentary Louder Than A Bomb, directed by local filmmakers Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel.

Together, the organizations have initiated a yearlong pilot project, bringing free educational material, professional development workshops, and public arts programming to classrooms and communities across the Chicago area. The Chicago pilot project, like the film, is inspired by the work of the late historian Howard Zinn (1922-2010), author of the bestselling A People’s History of the United States (HarperCollins 1980) and, with Anthony Arnove, the primary source companion Voices of a People’s History of the United States (Seven Stories Press 2004).

Matt Damon famously highlighted Zinn in his Academy Award-winning screenplay for Good Will Hunting, saying, as the character Will Hunting, “If you want to read a real history book, read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. That book will knock you on your f—king ass.” Damon’s connection to Zinn goes to back to his childhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he grew up next door to the historian. The People Speak, Live! is scheduled in part to commemorate Howard Zinn‘s passing on January 27, 2010.

The January 31st performace marks the Chicago premiere of “The People Speak, Live!”. Since 2003, Voices of a People’s History has produced more than 100 performances in 17 states with casts that have included local students, parents, civic leaders, and actors alongside celebrated artists such as Black Thought of The Roots, Josh Brolin, Diane Lane, Danny Glover, Sandra Oh, Steve Earle, Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo, Patti Smith, Kerry Washington, and Alfre Woodard—on stages ranging from small classrooms and high school auditoriums to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Sundance Film Festival.

Since the Chicago pilot project launched in September 2011, more than 500 Chicago educators have received the free Chicago Voices Educators Toolkit, suitable for middle and high school and introductory college classes. The toolkit includes The People Speak Extended Edition DVD, a preloaded 2GB USB flash drive with standards-aligned lesson plans, teaching guides, newly edited primary source material featuring Chicago history, and other multimedia materials for the classroom, as well as several books by Howard Zinn. A total of 1,000 educators will receive the toolkit by the project’s end this June. “

In addition to distributing free educational material and holding professional development workshops for educators, the pilot project has partnered with community groups—including Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Erie Neighborhood House, Victory Gardens Theatre, Newberry Library, and the Occupy Chicago Education Committee—to host free screenings and discussions of the film The People Speak. These screenings will continue in the first half of this year.

Directions and ticket information:
Metro is located at 3730 N. Clark Street
(two blocks north of Wrigley Field), in Chicago, Illinois. Telephone: 773-549-4140

Visit the Metro homepage for more info, parking, and directions.

On sale January 9 at the Metro Box Office and online through Metro website or directly at ETix.

Metro’s box office is located inside the Metro Store on the first floor of 3730 North Clark Street. The box office is open Monday 12-6pm, Tuesday-Saturday 12-8pm, and closed Sunday unless there is a show. No phone orders. No service fees at the box office (just Metro’s own $1 restoration fee).

$11 in advance, $14 at the door, general admission standing, main floor or balcony*

$24, reserved seating, main floor*

$99 premium package* for two (2) reserved seats at your own cocktail table in the balcony, plus a copy of The People Speak Extended Edition DVD

*Plus service, convenience and handling fees.