musical numbers

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I'm Professor Chester Washington the Third

Music by Joel LaRue Smith
Lyrics by Lee Phenner

Sung by Professor Chester Washington III with Sergeant O'Connor, here performed by Ron Williams and Kevin Cirone. This duet becomes a verbal duel, as Washington locates racism as personal and political, historic and current, and O’Connor keeps coming back to a single word: “perpetrator.” Watch an excerpt.

Two Gentlemen, Two Suitcases

Music by Joseph Smith
Lyrics by Lee Phenner

Sung by Sergeant Tim O'Connor and the witness to the "burglary," here performed by Kevin Cirone and Liliane Klein. As the witness describes the "two gentlemen with suitcases" trying to enter the home, Sgt. O'Connor distorts her account and will submit a police report that covers his questionable actions. Watch an excerpt.

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Black and White and Blue All Over

Music by Joseph Smith

Lyrics by Lee Phenner


Sung by Professor Chester Washington III, here performed by Ron Williams, this blues-inspired number presents a striking contrast to the professor we first met, as he now finds himself alone in a jail cell, desolate and dejected. Having done everything “right” in life, he sees fully that, as a Black man in America, he can be rendered powerless in an instant. Watch an excerpt. 

Contempt of Cop

Music by Joel LaRue Smith
Lyrics by Lee Phenner

Sung by Chloe Washington, a performance artist and cultural critic and the daughter of Professor Chester Washington III, here performed by Briana Maia. This hip hop-fueled song presents Chloe’s point of view on the white police officer's dubious arrest of her father. It also addresses broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and injustice impacting “the countless and the nameless/the power-stripped, the blameless"; that is, the experience of people of color in America every single day. Watch an excerpt.

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A Teachable Moment

Music by Joel LaRue Smith
Lyrics by Lee Phenner

Sung by Chloe Washington, here performed by Briana Maia. Chloe produces a video of her interpretation of President Michael Rivera's official responses to the police's use of excessive force; how he would like to respond vs. how he has to respond. Watch an excerpt.


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A Pint of Understanding

Sung by President Michael Rivera with Professor Chester Washington III and Sergeant Tim O'Connor, here performed by Christian Figueroa, Ron Williams, and Kevin Cirone, the show's title song positions President Rivera as the peacemaker. Washington and O'Connor's reconciliation, though, is short-lived. Watch an excerpt.

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What's Past is Present

Sung by Professor Chester Washington III with Chloe Washington and chorus, here performed by Ron Williams, Briana Maia, Liliane Klein and Tyla Collier. Combining an R&B vibe with sardonic humor, this song pits Chester's optimism against Chloe's skepticism as they explore whether America can overcome its racist past—and present. Watch an excerpt.

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In the People's Republic of Bainbridge

Sung by a quartet (SATB), here performed by Liliane Klein, Tyla Collier, Steven Martin, and Ron Murphy. These self-righteous citizens are outraged, and just a little defensive, about a racist arrest taking place in their progressive bastion of Bainbridge. "Of all places!" Watch an excerpt.

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Sea Change - reprise

Sung by Sgt. Tim O'Connor and Chloe Washington. At a White House screening of Chloe’s documentary about the "Race in America" listening tour, which is being live-streamed, Chester is late. As the minutes tick by and Chester remains a no-show, the organizers turn to Chloe and Tim. Momentarily at a loss, they accept the baton and usher in a new era of hope. Watch an excerpt from an earlier version.

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It's in the Police Report

Music by Joel LaRue Smith
Lyrics by Lee Phenner

Sung by Police Officer Chandra Jones and other colleagues of Sgt. Tim O'Connor, here performed by Tyla Collier, Liliane Klein, Brian De Lorenzo, and Ron Murphy. Taking a cue from real events, the officers show blind support for their white colleague's arrest of the renowned African American scholar—despite Sgt. O'Connor's questionable judgment. Watch an excerpt.


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Beer Makes the Man

Sung by two TV morning show hosts, here performed during rehearsal by Steven Martin and Liliane Klein, the media circus is in full force in anticipation of the "Beer Talks" at the White House. The hosts zero in on the silly and superficial, studiously avoiding the difficult aspects of the white officer's dubious arrest of the African American scholar. Watch an excerpt.

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Sea  Change

Sung by Professor Chester Washington III and Sergeant Tim O'Connor, here performed by Ron Williams and Kevin Cirone, this anthem to hope marks an important shift in the dynamic between these two men. Watch an excerpt.

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I Am Your Champion No More

Sung by Professor Chester Washington III. (Not yet recorded.)
A lifetime of managing racism on personal and national levels has a cumulative effect on Professor Chester Washington III. He finally acknowledges that he likely lost his wife to a racist hate crime and a close call that almost took his daughter's life calls his life's purpose into question.

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Sometimes You Fall

Sung by Professor Chester Washington III, Chloe Washington, and Sergeant Tim O'Connor, here performed by Ron Williams, Briana Maia, and Kevin Cirone. After a hate crime-fueled pipebomb nearly takes Chloe's life, she falls into a medication-laden reverie. Watch an excerpt.

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