New York stage artists have teamed up with formerly incarcerated writers and affected family members to stage Chains Don’t Rattle Themselves, two concerts aimed at raising awareness of youth incarceration. The evenings will feature performers from Broadway’s Shuffle Along, and Mamma Mia! and Barrow Street’s Off-Broadway Sweeney Todd.
The concerts will be given March 12 in Port Washington, Long Island, at Landmark on Main Street; and March 13 at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City. The writers’ true stories will be heard in two ways—first as autobiographical re-tellings by formerly incarcerated youth, and then as original songs adapted from those stories. The event will be in support of the Raise the Age NY campaign, which seeks to stop New York State from prosecuting 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds as adults.
Chains Don’t Rattle Themselves is a collaboration between the Songwriter’s Orchestra and Herstory Writers Workshop, and will feature rapper Latasha “LA” Alcindor, Brinae Ali (Shuffle Along), Olivia Harris, Zhailon Levingston (iLLA), John-Michael Lyles (Sweeney Todd), Taylor Simone (of Jazze Belle), Britton Smith (Shuffle Along), and Allison Strong (Mamma Mia!).
The event title was derived from the story “Chains Don't Rattle Themselves” by Dathonie Pinto. The event will feature readings of this and other stories developed by Herstory Writers Workshop.
The project was conceived by Alex Hare and Solomon Hoffman, with direction by Hare and arrangements by Hoffman. Harris is co-producer.
Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased online at thesongwritersorchestra.com.