Second Stage Theater has announced a partnership with “Between Riverside and Crazy” cast member Common and his nonprofit, Imagine Justice, to host Justice Nights On Broadway. The events — which will bring together 100 formerly incarcerated people with their families and community advocates to see the play — will take place at the matineé performances on Feb. 11 and 18. The production recently announced a one-week extension through Feb. 19.
Justice Nights on Broadway will include post-show talkbacks featuring Common and fellow cast member Stephen McKinley Henderson, hosted by Sirius XM host and ABC news contributor Mike Muse. Guests will also have the opportunity to participate in a meet-and-greet with Common afterward.
Second Stage will also share information on its second annual Fair Chance Job Fair, held at the Hayes Theatre on April 17. Employers in attendance are committed to not requiring potential employees to submit a background check.
In addition, Imagine Justice is working with Second Stage and the League of Live Stream Theatre to bring a simulcast of “Between Riverside and Crazy” to prison facilities. Relatedly, Second Stage and the League have also made the current simulcasting of performances (through Feb. 12) available to general ticketbuyers who purchase a livestream ticket.
Common, who is making his Broadway debut in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ play, founded the nonprofit Imagine Justice in 2018 to provide support to formerly incarcerated people. He has spoken openly about his passion for this work, which has included advocating to pass bills that help incarcerated people heal.
“Theater has been a life-changing and enhancing experience. It’s an experience I want to share,” Common said in a statement. “The Justice Nights are a very special coming together of people. It’s a gift to bring together people who are formerly incarcerated and their families with the Broadway community. These are two worlds telling the complex stories of the work it takes to restore human lives.”
“‘Between Riverside and Crazy’ deals with characters (Junior and Oswaldo) who can actually help humanize people who were formerly incarcerated,” he continued. “And it’s monumental to have people who have experienced this also be there to open our eyes to what is going on in the prison system. In the talkback we will bring light to the work that needs to be done for parole reform, like the Fair and Timely Parole Bill in New York and the Earned Re-Entry Bill in Illinois. We need to give people who have changed their lives a fair chance to return home and become fully part of society again.”