The one-night-only performance will begin at 7 PM and will also feature Chicago poets Angela Jackson, Kevin Coval, Idris Goodwin, Malcolm London and She'Kira McKnight; Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members Alana Arenas and Robert Breuler; Chicago Tribune journalist Rick Kogan; civic leader Rami Nashashibi; The Luna Blues Machine band; performer Lani T. Montreal; actor Brian Quijada; pastor Phil Jackson; and DJ Itch 13, among others.
Here's how producers describe the event: "Bringing to life the extraordinary history of ordinary people who made the United States what it is today, The People Speak, Live! pairs Academy Award winner Matt Damon with local Chicago talent for dramatic readings and songs of the actual words of rebels, dissenters, prophets, and visionaries from America’s past—and present."
The People Speak, Live! is based on the award-winning documentary feature "The People Speak," which had its broadcast premiere on the History Channel in December 2009. "The People Speak" features Damon reading John Steinbeck; Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen in original performances of Woody Guthrie songs; Marisa Tomei describing the 1937 Flint sit-down strike; Morgan Freeman and Don Cheadle performing the words of Frederick Douglass; John Legend reading Muhammad Ali; and other artists bringing to life both the acclaimed and anonymous in U.S. history.
Voices of a People's History, a national non-profit organization that runs education and performing arts programs, is producing the Jan. 31 performance in partnership with Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival.