stephen h belber

Tracks American “radicalism” over of 3 decades through the life of Jamal Joseph, who joined the Black Panthers at age 15, spent much of the 70’s in prison, and is now a professor at Columbia.
Project Status:full first draft, needs development
Project Description:

JAMAL SAVIO REAGAN SHAKUR traces and tracks the strains of American “radicalism” over the course of 3 decades, 1964-1996. After growing up in the Bronx, Jamal Joseph joined the Black Panthers at age 15 and began an epic voyage that took him from the radical selflessness of the Panthers’ Free Breakfast program, to the radical action of rising and abetting bank robberies; from Rikers and then federal prison, to the halls of Columbia University, where he’s currently a full professor. In a theatrical world that very much glides the nonlinear and fantastical, Jamal’s journey is inspired by the free speech rebel Mario Savio, catalyzed by the activist Afeni Shakur (mother of Tupac), squashed by the rise and rule of Ronald Reagan, radicalized by the political outlaw Mutulu Shakur, and finally resurrected and restored by Jamal himself. In a country "founded" on ideals that sought to replace the status quo of the old world with a radically re-imagined way of being, this play examines what radical actually means in the context of the American experiment.


Stephen Belber’s plays have been produced on Broadway and in over 25 countries. In addition to Broadway, his plays have world premiered at Roundabout Theater, Atlantic Theater, Manhattan Class Company (MCC), Primary Stages, Labyrinth Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Naked Angels, L.A.'s Geffen Playhouse, Boston’s Huntington Theater, Pittsburgh’s City Theater, and The Humana Festival. He was an Associate Writer and actor for The Laramie Project, and co-writer/actor on The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. Belber has also written and directed three feature films, Management (Jennifer Aniston/Woody Harrelson), Match (Patrick Stewart/Carla Gugino), and What We Do Next (Corey Stoll/Karen Pittman). He has written the movies Tape (Ethan Hawke/Uma Thurman, directed by Richard Linklater), The Laramie Project (associate writer), Drifting Elegant, and O.G., (Jeffrey Wright, HBO Films). Television credits include Law & Order SVU, Rescue Me, Tommy, The First, and pilots for Netflix, HBO, F/X, USA, TNT, ABC, History Channel, and Fox TV. Has worked on numerous studio films (including Dallas Buyers Club), and developed movies with Will Smith, Todd Phillips, Bennett Miller, Jay Roach, George Tillman, Greg Mottola, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anthony Mackie, Sam Rockwell, David Gordon Green, and others. Currently writing the pilot for a series about The Chateau Marmont for John Krasinski's Sunday Night Productions and Paramount, and developing a series for Netflix based on his original script The Madness. His next film directing project is an adaptation of his stage play Dusk Rings A Bell, starring Jessica Biel and Chris Messina.

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