Public Policy Forum Gets “Glee”-ful
Santa Monica College’s new Public Policy Institute is introducing topics to stimulate Socratic dialogues with the audience using Broadway showtunes. On June 16 the Institute will hold a community forum, “Public Policy on Broadway,” in which the school’s musical theater workshop will perform numbers from Oklahoma!, South Pacific and The Pajama Game.
The concept is the brain child of the Institute’s director, former State Assemblymember Sheila Kuehl who was was on the stars of the groundbreaking TV series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis in which cast members would break the fourth wall by addressing audience. So it makes sense that Kuehl would stage such a unique way to engage the public.
As she points out:
I think it’s a very attractive hook, but it’s not a gimmick. Yes, it will be fun, but I chose each number because it’s got deeper issues embedded in it. People like Rodgers and Hammerstein all the way to ‘Rent’ or ‘In the Heights’ are writing musicals about important ideas that really are public policy.
Glee certainly uses music to make social commentary, as have operas and operettas, so if it gets people to talking, then it’s gonna be a great day.