CITY OF REFUGE - New Play by artistic associate Tommer Peterson

Refuge from tommer on Vimeo.



City of Refuge

City of Refuge is an interactive theater piece that examines and illuminates the stories of the movement of people from one life to another.  Whether by choice or by circumstance, the act of leaving what was once home and facing an unknown future is at once an act of desperation, courage, and hope.  City of Refuge will embody and tell the true stories of individuals who have made these journeys.

The elements of this production

• A series of interviews with individuals who are recent or past immigrants, migrants, and/or refugees will be conducted by the core creative team, using the methodology developed by American Records Theatre Company. These stories will be used to develop the central narrative of the performance.

 • City of Refuge is entirely presented in movement, based on the techniques developed by Japanese theater artist Shogo Ohta called “slow tempo.” Ohta’s style, in which the performers move in exaggerated slow motion, and focus on the act of walking, provides and ideal vehicle to express the stories of migration and relocation.   There is no spoken text.

City of Refuge will not be performed in traditional theatrical venues, but in spaces such as museums, industrial sites, parks, or places of worship.

• There is no passive audience for City of Refuge.  There is a core professional cast that will perform the main story line, supported and accompanied by “extras”. 



NEW play commission - The Guthrie Theater

For 2016-2017, The Guthrie Theater has commissioned playwright and American Records’ founding CEO KJ Sanchez to create a documentary play about refugees, immigrants and support or opposition of their resettlement in the Twin Cities.

"A community can be measured by the questions its theater asks" - Former Guthrie Artistic Director, Liviu Ciulei

Based on extensive interviews with a multitude of unheard voices, Sanchez will construct a script to pose critical questions: who are we as Americans as defined by how we accept or refuse refuge to immigrants? What are the risks? What are the gains? Who are these refugees and why do they come to us for help? How is immigration in Minnesota different or the same today as it was decades ago?

AMERICAN THEATRE article detailing the commission for the Level Nine initiative in the Dowling Studio:


Remarkably Normal - New play by Company Member

Jessi Blue Gormezano
, an American Records Co. Member, received a commission from Advocates for Youth, a DC based non-profit, to write a documentary play about experiences with abortion care.  This play received an eight city national tour in the summer of 2016.

Remarkably Normal moves past the noise of the current political climate and focuses on the people who receive and provide abortion care. One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime.  Exclusively composed of interviews and stories submitted to the 1 in 3 Campaign, this play is soulful, funny, and at times challenging. Remarkably Normal reveals the stories behind the statistics.

Meet the cast of "Remarkably Normal" from Advocates for Youth on Vimeo

From an interview in Colorado Youth Matter:  "The play was a meaningful, timely wake-up emphatically honored the range of experiences that people have." 

From a review in Texas Observer"The play gives its audience the chance to rise above the political fray and to focus on the personal, putting voices to a powerful number: One in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime. As one actor declares toward the end of show: “There’s no good abortions or bad abortions. There’s just abortions, and people need them.”

From an editorial by Assistant Director, Taylor Reynolds for MTV News:  "The tour is over, but I still don’t have a definitive answer about what I’d do if I had an unplanned pregnancy.  What I do know is that it’s my decision, and if anyone ever tries to argue with me, I’m going to quote this line from Remarkably Normal: "It is my basic human right to control, plan, and choose the size of my family. … I don’t feel like that’s self-indulgence. That’s self-preservation."


Cincinnati King and Highway 47

Cincinnati King:  
American Records recently returned from a residency at The Orchard Project, after working on Cincinnati King, a new musical about the 1940’s/50’s record label, King Records.

Employees in King Records' shipping department (photo courtesy of Steve Halper)

Highway 47:  KJ Sanchez talks with Frank Stasio on WUNC about her play about family, community and a big peice of land...

Click HERE for interview with WUNC and photo slideshow.


Rave Reviews for X's and O's at Baltimore Center Stage

"This brisk theatrical rush about football confronts the physical risks of playing what one character calls 'the best game there is,' while simultaneously celebrating the magnetic hold that game has on so many people." - The Baltimore Sun

“A kinetic, compelling appraisal of the game, showing its power to both uplift and destroy” - City Paper

“X’s and O’s is a thought-provoking, culturally relevant theater piece that is informative and entertaining enough to enchant even non-football fans.” - DC Metro Theater Arts

"5 stars! Truly an intriguing piece of fact, opinion, emotion, and exploration”  -

"Dazzling" - MD Theatre Guide