Theater community embraces social change and commentary

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Broadway is known for its bright lights and entertaining shows, but it also has a long history of tackling some very tough topics. The theater community continues to embrace this tradition in a variety of ways.

We saw it in Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific back in 1949. Looking back on WWII just a few years after it ended, the show, later made into a movie, confronted the harsh reality of racism.

Fast forward to 2017, and a new play about President Trump's anti-immigration policies is taking the stage Off-Broadway in New York.

You might be familiar with the playwright Robert Schenkkan. He won a Pulitzer for his play "The Kentucky Cycle," a Tony for "All the Way," and recently wrote the screenplay for the film "Hacksaw Ridge." His latest work, "Building the Wall," took him just one week to complete the first draft.

"Building the Wall" is set in the fall of 2019. It focuses on efforts to detain immigrants in a private prison after a terrorist attack.

It usually takes years for a new play to reach audiences, but Schenkkan feels in today's fast-paced world, the reaction from artists needs to be immediate.

Broadway producers Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley also had an immediate reaction. For them, it was last year's horrific nightclub shooting in Orlando.

And in an instant, Broadway for Orlando was born.

The recording has raised more than a hundred thousand dollars for the LGBT Center in Orlando.

Several months later, Seth and James were at it again. This time with an event to coincide with President Trump's inauguration: a concert for America aimed at bringing people together after an election that left our country divided. Chita Rivera, Jessie Mueller, and Billy Porter were just some of the big stars who jumped on board. Concert for America is held once a month. It raises money for five different nonprofit organizations.