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Digital film project created by Center Stage gets new life as a feature film

One of Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah's bright ideas has evolved into a feature film that will be unveiled worldwide next week.

The project began in 2012 when Kwei-Armah was looking for a way to celebrate his theater's 50th anniversary. He asked such nationally known playwrights as Christopher Durang, Neil LaBute and the Baltimore-born Anna Deavere Smith to answer the question, "What is my America?" and then turned their responses into three-minute films.

The 50 monologues, which were broadcast in the Center Stage lobby in 2012, explore such hot-button issues as race and religion. They were performed by well-known actors ranging from Tracie Thoms to Bobby Cannavale.

Center Stage announced this week in a news release that 21 of the monologues have been woven into a full-length feature directed by Hal Hartley that has been picked up by the streaming service, Fandor.

"My America" will be released July 4 to subscribers in 100 countries. In addition, a screening will be held July 9 in New York.

Kwei-Armah said in the release that he's thrilled that the digital dialogue that he began will reach a new and larger audience.

"With 'My America'," he said, "I wanted our theater to examine what the next great stages for theatrical artists might be and how we can share those stories in a way that makes the art more accessible."

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