“Living in the aftermath of 9/11, I feel an urgent and renewed engagement with what it means to be an American. But that engagement is a troubling one because of a longstanding estrangement between American civic ideals and American civic practice. This project is my response to this reality. I take it as a civic responsibility to think about these things out loud, in the ritualized forum of theater and public dialogue.”
Sekou Sundiata

Poet/theater artist and musician Sekou Sundiata (blessing the boats,Udu) along with a dozen musicians, singers, and spoken-word artists returns to the Walker to develop his latest work, a candid contemplation of Americas national identity and its guiding mythologies. Uniting art and civic dialogue through song cycles, poems, monologues, and moving images, the 51st (dream) state ponders Americas definition of itself in an era of unprecedented global power and asks what it means to be both a citizen and an individual in our complex society.

from Sekou Sundiata’s 51st (dream) state
Conceived and written by Sekou Sundiata
Direction: Christopher McElroen
Original Sound Score: Graham Haynes
Musical Direction: Graham Haynes, Eddie Allen
Vocal Arrangements: Richard Harper
Lighting Design: Rick Murray
Choreography: David Thomson
Projections: Sage Marie Carter
Set Design: Troy Hourie
Sound Design: Lucas Indelicato
Singers: LaTanya Hall, Ronnell Bey, Samita Sinha, and Bora Yoon
Musicians: Graham Haynes, Bora Yoon, Adam Klipple, Bill White, Calvin Jones, Chris Eddleton, and Eddie Allen

Text written and spoken by Sekou Sundiata

Producer: MultiArts Projects & Productions/MAPP
Ann Rosenthal and Cathy Zimmerman, Co-Directors and Producers
Jordana Phokompe, Associate Producer

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  • 51st (dream) State is nationally acclaimed poet Sekou Sundiata’s contemplation of America’s national identity, power in the world and guiding mythologies. The work, which Sundiata imagined as his poetic and personal “State of the American Soul Address,” explores how America defines itself in a new era characterized by unprecedented global influence…
  • from Sekou Sundiata's 51st (dream) state Conceived and written by Sekou Sundiata
  • 51st (dream) State is nationally acclaimed poet Sekou Sundiata’s contemplation of America’s national identity, power in the world and guiding mythologies.