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Hometown to the World Makes New York Debut

Emily Doyle Moore | | 505-986-5908


Hometown to the World Debuts on Broadway

If a chorus of 12 teens can provide compelling commentary on immigration enforcement from the stage of a venerable performing arts center in Santa Fe, how might ten times that number of voices impact the debate? From a Broadway venue that has welcomed some of the twentieth century’s most influential social justice visionaries? 

Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows-Fineberg and Anna Garcia pilot the time machine east to find out, setting a course for the 2022 premiere of Hometown to the World at New York’s storied Town Hall.

Adding their insights to this aural postcard are Hometown’s composer Laura Kaminsky and librettist Kimberly Reed; Melay Araya, artistic director at The Town Hall; several chorus members from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts, as well as the audience.

Hometown––an original work commissioned by Santa Fe Opera for its Opera For All Voices (OFAV) initiative––follows the events of a 2008 raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, IA. The opera explores themes of religion, acceptance, and community, igniting a communal desire to create a more equitable world. “People that are already empathetic, they need fuel,” says Melay. “They need the refocusing that Laura and Kim provide in language and song to think larger and to address these issues, not just on the granular level, but as spiritual and ethical questions.”

Hometown closes with a Hebrew call to action, delivered by that sprawling chorus of young, hopeful voices: Tikkun Olam! Repair the world!


Laura Kaminsky – Composer, Hometown to the World

Kimberly Reed – Librettist, Hometown to the World

Melay Araya – Artistic Director, The Town Hall

A chorus comprised of 100+ public high school students from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts

Related Episodes

Season 1, Episode 6 “Hometown to the World”Hometown’s Laura Kaminsky and Kimberly Reed on telling history and collaboration.

Season 2, Episode 9 “America Is Impossible Without Us” – Revisiting Hometown’s story, structure, music, and what it means to be an American during the San Francisco workshop.

Season 3, Episode 3 “Responding to the World” – with Stage Director Kristine McIntyre and Dramaturg Cori Ellison.

Season 3, Episode 8 “Bridging Communities with Carmen Flórez-Mansi” – with Chorus Master Carmen Flórez-Mansi.

Season 4, Episode 1 “This Doesn’t Happen Without Audience” – Andrea prepares for the world premiere in Santa Fe with core members of its artistic team, young performers, and the most influential collaborator: the audience.

Season 4, Episode 2 “Influence and Inclusion: The Impact of Hometown to the World with Estevan, Ely, and Francesco of the Youth Chorus” – Post-show reactions from artists, creators, collaborators, and the audience buoyed by musical excerpts from Hometown’s premiere at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe.


Melay Araya – Artistic Director, The Town Hall

“New York City is a border town. Thinking about the Midwest, you know, thinking about Postville, thinking about this place that is very foreign and exotic, actually, to New York City kids, I think is good at destabilizing what our concept of immigration even looks like.”

“If you’re on the train and you don’t get off, or you don’t change course, like, you’re just keeping oppression, and you’re just keeping everything moving. So where are the interventions, you know? And I think art is an intervention. Discussion is an intervention. And, for all of us at this table who have similar, I think, politics and social views, we need to be vigilant because the train will move without us.”

“We need that fuel––and that’s what the arts give us.”

Laura Kaminsky – Composer, Hometown to the World 

“If there’s a bad guy, in a way, it’s the unsung character that never exists, which is the political and the social structures that have evolved, that have let people who should be able to support each other and work together to make a shared society butt up against each other.”

“Religion is both something that divides these characters but ultimately brings them together because the underlying hope in religion is that I have to figure out why I am here, how can I be a good person throughout my life before I go.”

“We’re not saying strike down this immigrant bill or change the numbers of how many of these kinds of people come in, in a certain year. It’s not granular like that, but there’s this fourth character, which is the structures out there and how they’ve impacted at the local level of individual people, their life stories, and their trials and tribulations as humans.”

“One of the things that we always know is that when you’re touched by a piece of art, it takes your imagination, and it’s that empathy that it opens up, activates.”

Kimberly Reed – Librettist, Hometown to the World

“For me, a real driving principle is that the personal is political and, hopefully, what we’re seeing are these three very personal stories about three characters from Postville who kind of represent these kinds of major groups of people who live there, but also have very strong three-dimensional personal lives and get involved in situations that they have to resolve with the people around them.”

“Can we ever have too many reminders about empathy?” 

“Folks process it differently. Sometimes we need the arguments and the policies and the words. Sometimes we need art to work on us for music and lyrics to work on us at a completely different level.”