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Like most of the country, Arena Stage’s Artistic Director Molly Smith was horrified when she first heard about the massacre in Newtown, Conn. But after moving past her initial shock and sadness, Smith got to work. With her partner, Suzanne Blue Star Boy, Smith began organizing the March on Washington for Gun Control, which will take place on the National Mall tomorrow morning.
Like other gun control marches before it, the proceedings will feature elected officials (Maryland congressman Chris Van Hollen, Mayor Vince Gray, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Council members David Grosso, Kenyan McDuffie, and Tommy Wells) and gun control activists (Virginia Tech survivor Colin Goddard, One Million Moms for Gun Control founder Sharon Watts). But because Smith and several other members of the march’s steering committee have a connection to the arts, performances will be incorporated into the program.
In addition to remarks from recent Arena Stage star Kathleen Turner, local actors, including Will Gartshore, Rachel Zampelli, and Tracy Lynn Olivera, will sing John Lennon‘s “Imagine” when the march reaches the Washington Monument. Nova Payton will also perform Marvin Gaye‘s “What’s Going On” and Eleasha Gamble, Nicholas Rodriguez, and Nehal Joshi will deliver Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah.” For some of the organizers, the cause is intensely personal: Steering committee member and actor Paul Oakley Stovall survived a shooting 20 years ago and remains determined to fight for better gun control measures.
The march begins at the Capitol Reflecting Pool tomorrow at 10 a.m. Participants will then proceed silently eastward on Constitution Avenue NW and gather on the grounds of the Washington Monument to speak, perform, and show their support for President Obama‘s gun control plan. Interested parties can RSVP via Facebook. For more information, visit the march’s website at guncontrolmarch.com.