The Democracy Project was a journey through the first of the 527 momentous days when New York City was the first capital of the revolutionary United States government. The presidency was new, the slave trade was in debate, and the Constitution — and the rights of all this land’s inhabitants — hung in the balance.
George Washington struggled to define his presidency; James Madison presented the Bill of Rights; Muscogee (Creek) Chief Alexander McGillivray maneuvered to preserve his nation’s land by signing the first international treaty with the United States; and Ona Judge, a woman enslaved by Martha Washington, saw through the Quaker petitions to end the slave trade. Featuring original songs, The Democracy Project followed a modern-day narrator through the history of Federal Hall on Wall Street, probing the choices of our Founders and how their actions still reverberate through America, many years after “We the People.”
The Democracy Project was written by WGA Award winner Tanya Barfield (Hulu’s “Mrs. America”); Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D’Amour (Detroit); MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Larissa FastHorse (The Thanksgiving Play); Obie Award winner Melissa James Gibson (“House of Cards”); Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael R. Jackson (A Strange Loop); and Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Bruce Norris (Clybourne Park).
Directed by Tamilla Woodard (Weightless; Chair, Acting Program, Yale’s David Geffen School of Drama) and Tai Thompson (Dark Star from Harlem), The Democracy Project held performances from June 22 to July 22 at Federal Hall. All performances were free and open to the public.