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Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley to Have New York City Staging

The historic 1965 debate between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr. will be performed onstage.

Teagle F. Bougere and Eric T. Miller in Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley.
(© Antonio M. Rosario)

The American Vicarious will present Debate: Baldwin vs. Buckley, a staging of the historic clash between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr. Adapted and directed by founding artistic director Christopher McElroen, performances will run March 5-April 3 at the Great Room at the A.R.T./New York South Oxford Space.

The production stars Teagle F. Bougere (Ivo van Hove's The Crucible) as Baldwin, and Eric T. Miller (Mope at the Ensemble Studio Theater) as Buckley, and is described as follows:

"Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro? This was the topic on February 18, 1965, when an overflow crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England, to bear witness to a historic televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America's most influential conservative intellectual. The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin's call for a moral revolution in race relations against Buckley's unabashed elitism and implicit commitment to white supremacy. Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley reveals the deep roots and lasting legacy of racial conflict that continues to haunt America."

Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley was originally produced in 2020 and broadcast in partnership with BRIC. The production's creative team includes Elivia Bovenzi (costume designer), Andy Evan Cohen (sound designer), Adam J. Thompson (video and graphics designer), and Jaymes Jorsling.