American Alphabet


American Alphabet is a powerful exploration of one woman’s family tree, from its racist “white cracker” roots to the green shoots of hope found among its 21st century branches. Beginning with the Civil War and her slave-owning great-great-grandfather through the election of Barack Obama, Lisa Cordes weaves personal narrative with the larger history of race and sex in America, traversing this rancorous terrain with acerbic humor, unflinching honesty, and a really big chalkboard. The epic story that unfolds in this theatrical classroom is one of heartbreaking beauty and deep forgiveness.

American Alphabet debuted as a collaborative work with playwright Damian Torres-Botello at the 2010 Kansas City Fringe Festival, garnering uniform praise.

“Some people go to the theater for light entertainment, which can sometimes take the form of thin dramas or overwrought musicals. But a few folks go in search of something true, honest and meaningful. That’s what I found at the Tuesday performance of “American Alphabet.” – Robert Trussell, Kansas City Star

“The show is a must-see for the message it gives. It’s true that we don’t learn hate in the classroom, but there sure are a lot of people out there to teach it. And, Damien Torres-Botello and Lisa Cordes remind us that the only thing to do is to keep fighting those who try to teach hate by inventing words to do it.”  - KCFreePress

“But where better than the theater to dramatize the high price we pay for our own American stories, and shine a light toward the future? In all, “American Alphabet” offers up a fascinating and thought-provoking evening of theater. The only hickory stick involved in this teaching is our own difficult history: let the healing begin!” - KC Stage

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