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Singing the Same Old Songs in Harmony Is Far Easier than Talking Across Racial Lines | Mary C. Curtis

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charles Randolph-Wright, the director of “Motown: The Musical,” likes to tell the story of how a national tour of his Broadway show, when it touched down in St. Louis last year, offered respite and relief to young people from the Ferguson area. The Missouri town is now famous as a touch point in the national conversation on the relationship between police and the communities they serve.

“Teachers said they hadn’t seen the kids smile in months” before that evening in the theater, he told me at a reception before the opening of the show’s Charlotte run. That stop happened to coincide with the trial of officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell, an unarmed black man, which eventually ended in a hung jury, mistrial and decision not to re-try the case.