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Musical Theatre

One of the most effective ways to raise awareness about social injustices is through the performing arts, such as plays and musicals. 

Oftentimes, the messages presented in these performances are more powerful than any other medium because of the emotional effects that they have on the audience members. 

The following list contains a few examples of popular musicals and plays that raise awareness about important social issues.

Pipeline: The broken system of America is described in the pipeline’s article, mainly with regard to racial and economic disparity within the education field.

Kinky Boots: Kinky Boots, a Broadway musical, teaches viewers to be compassionate and understanding of people with whom they might not usually identify.

The Laramie Project: The Laramie Project, a play about the hate crime murder of Matthew Shepard, teaches that while some people may choose to be hateful toward others, it is never an excuse for violence.

The Color Purple: Based on Alice Walker’s bestselling novel of the same name, this musical has won multiple Tony Awards and is an example of how passion and determination can help a person achieve his or her goals. This musical tackles discrimination, sexual abuse, and racism.

A Raisin in the Sun: This play is an example of how perseverance coupled with optimism can eventually lead to success.

American Son: The film, American Son, tackles racism, racial profiling, and police brutality.

For Colored Girls: This play-turned-movie tackles the theme of personal conflict with different storylines for each character such as love, abandonment, and infidelity.

West Side Story: The play shows the lives of troubled youth as they navigate the difficulties of poverty and racism.

A Raisin in the Sun: The play describes how classism and struggle within a family can affect the dynamics of relationships between its members.

The Wiz: The Wizard of Oz spinoff takes on race issues as Dorothy searches for a place to feel at home with her dog Toto.

Two Trains Running: This play discusses the racial problems that erupted in the 1960s.

Ragtime: Ragtime is focused on the concept of social mobility – and is filled with conversation pieces regarding injustices and racism.

In the Heights: This musical is about a group of Dominican-Americans living in Washington Heights. It highlights issues such as immigration, biculturalism, and classism.