Playwright Brian Quijada Talks About His Show at the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

The show features musical direction by Milwaukee artist Klassik.

BRIAN QUIJADA is a New York-based playwright who created Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, a one-man musical about a boy growing up near Chicago. See it at the Chamber Theatre from Jan. 21-Feb. 13.

Why do you think Where Did We Sit on the Bus has gained so much traction?

The more specific you get, the more universal art can be. It’s my story, it’s your story, it’s an American story. By me telling my story, which I thought I was alone in, a lot more people have related to it.

 

 

The show deals with heavy themes like segregation and immigration, but it’s also celebratory. How do you balance that?

The play looks at those things through the eyes of a child. To raise your hand in the third grade and ask where Latinos sat on the bus during the civil rights movement, and have the teachers say, “Oh, they weren’t around,” can blow up your world. But it’s also an 8-year-old’s world, right? Yes, the topics are big, hard, complicated topics, but it’s also moments of discovery and joy.

Are you excited about the show being performed in Milwaukee?

I have deep ties to Milwaukee. I got married in Milwaukee; my wife is from there. I hope audiences who see it just feel like they’re not alone. That they feel camaraderie and community. Even though we might have different backgrounds, we’re all in this together.


 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s November issue.

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