All My Sons, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, The Glass Menagerie: Each of these American family dramas has found a home here at Roundabout within the last 10 years, and to this list I am thrilled to add Hilary Bettis’s 72 Miles to Go…, an American family drama for the modern age. Hilary’s play showcases a family at the southern border that is affected by America’s ever-changing immigration policies over the course of eight years. Through her wit, pathos, and warm dialogue, Hilary has turned this story into a universal narrative that I believe will incite fierce empathy in all who encounter it.
With 72 Miles to Go…, Hilary is redefining the genre to embrace those who have been historically left out of the canon. This is exactly the mission of Roundabout’s New Play Initiative: to expand the canon and create new classics with the hope of changing the face of theatre in the years to come.
When discussing this play, Hilary has often spoken to me of the time she spent developing it in Houston, where it was performed for an audience of Black and Latinx students from all over the city. She says that during their post-show conversation, “Some shared that their parents were undocumented, and they never really thought about what their parents gave up for them to have lives in America. Others shared that seeing this play made them want to write, that they never thought writing was a possibility for them until now.” For many of these students, 72 Miles to Go… was the first time they saw their own stories onstage. It is my hope that by sharing this play here in New York, we will be able to inspire many more individuals like them—as well as those who see themselves onstage often and will be meeting this family for the first time with fresh eyes.
I hope you will join us again here at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre for the final two plays in our season. Here in the Laura Pels Theatre we will be welcoming back Jiréh Breon Holder, playwright of the acclaimed Too Heavy for Your Pocket, with his poignant new play …what the end will be. At Roundabout Underground, I am thrilled to introduce the talents of Dave Harris with Exception to the Rule, an entertaining and incisive portrait of a group of high school students stuck in detention. Like 72 Miles to Go…, I feel that both Jiréh and Dave’s plays are worthy additions to the canon.
As always, I am eager to hear your reactions to the show, so please continue to email me at ArtisticOffice@roundabouttheatre.org with your thoughts. I can’t tell you how greatly I value your feedback.
I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!