Bishop Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, and Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., director of the Vatican Observatory, are among a slate of speakers scheduled to appear at the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture in lower Manhattan in the coming months, as the Sheen Center launches its winter and spring programming for film, theater, music and talks.
The new season of film opens Thursday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. in the Loreto Theater with “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till,” and a discussion with filmmakers Keith Beauchamp and Frederick Zollo. The film tells the story of a grieving mother who refuses to allow the brutal murder of her son to go unchallenged, signaling the dawn of the civil rights era in the South. The screening will be followed by the session with the two filmmakers. Beauchamp will discuss his documentary, which is being turned into a feature film by producer Zollo (and director Whoopi Goldberg).
Shining a light on contemporary culture’s most pressing issues, the Sheen Center presents panels such as “Race in America: Telling Our Stories,” which explores race in the United States through the literary lens of prominent authors Sapphire (author of “Push,” a novel that was the basis for the Oscar-winning film, “Precious”), Major Jackson (“Hoops,” “Roll Deep”) and Patrick Phillips (“Blood at the Root”) Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Loreto Theater.
Sony Pictures/Affirm Films return to the Sheen Center with an advanced screening of “Paul: Apostle of Christ,” starring James Faulkner as Paul and Jim Caviezel as Luke, Saturday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. in the Loreto Theater.
Authors’ Nights include “Jackie Robinson: The Faith Behind the Legend,” featuring Ed Henry and “Lessons in Hope” by George Weigel.
Henry, chief national correspondent for Fox News, discusses his New York Times best-selling book “42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story,” Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theater.
Weigel’s talk is Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m., also at the Black Box Theater. Weigel, a St. John Paul II biographer, shares the story of his decades-long friendship with the late pontiff.
Both authors will sign copies of their books after the talks.
“How the Nuns of New York Tamed the Gangs of New York,” directed by George Heslin, produced and created by Turlough McConnell, returns Feb. 28 at 11 a.m. in the Loreto Theater. A celebration in music, dance and story showcases the Sisters of Charity of New York from their founding in the 19th century.
“Windows to Heaven,” a selection of new Coptic Christian artworks by brothers Father Francis Fayez and Ayman Fayez, will be on display March 1 through April 1 at The Gallery at the Sheen Center. The opening reception is Thursday, March 1, at 6 p.m.
“The Signature Project,” produced by Dunning LLC, March 8 to 25 in the Loreto Theater, is a multi-sensory theatrical experience that features a 76-foot-by-36-foot mural that comes to life as artist Patrick Dunning weaves stories, music, dance and images in the tradition of Irish artists.
Bishop Tighe of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture offers reflections on modern art and cinema from a Christian perspective, along with Father Robert Lauder of St. John’s University, in “A New Way of Seeing: The Church and Contemporary Art & Film,” Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m. in Studios A & B.
The Sheen Center takes a philosophical turn with the talk “Jesuits and Jedi: Science and Spirituality in the Age of Star Wars” Tuesday, April 10, at 7 p.m. Brother Consolmagno of the Vatican Observatory tours through the cosmos and some of his favorite science fiction stories and movies. He will be joined by Dr. Charles Camosy of Fordham University.
“The Rainmaker,” produced by Blackfriars Repertory Theatre, The Storm Theatre and The Sheen Center, April 27 to May 20 at Black Box Theater, is a stage classic by N. Richard Nash from the golden age of American theater. It tells the story of a charismatic stranger who arrives in town on a hot, summer day, bringing hope to a drought-stricken people as well as a lonely spinster in the romantic fable of love, longing, hope and fulfillment set in the American West of the 1920s.
A conversation concerning the shifting parameters of public discourse continues with the second installment of the Civility in America series, “Civility in Media,” moderated by America Magazine’s editor in chief, Father Matthew Malone, S.J., Wednesday, May 2, at 7 p.m. in the Loreto Theater.
Richard Hearns unveils the official portrait of Cardinal Dolan, “The Cardinal’s Portrait,” at The Gallery at the Sheen Center, where it will be displayed with smaller studies in oil, May 9-17.
The New York premiere of a new play by David Payne, “Tolkien and Lewis: Of Wardrobes and Rings,” chronicles a fictitious encounter between literary giants J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in Oxford’s legendary “Bird and Baby” pub, runs from May 22 through June 14 in the Black Box Theater.
“Little Rock: A New American Play,” written by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj and produced by Rebel Theatrical Management, LLC, will be performed May 30 to Aug. 5 in the Loreto Theater.
The documentary play tells the story of nine students who sought a better education at a white high school in Little Rock, Ark., at the dawn of the civil rights movement in 1957, three years after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case. Little Rock Central High School became ground zero in the fight to integrate public schools across America.
Through television, the world met a stalwart group of black teenagers who would become known as The Little Rock Nine, along with a supporting cast including a defiant governor, a resolute president and 11,000 federal troops.
A preview of Rebel Theatrical’s “Little Rock” will be provided at a staged reading Thursday, Feb. 22, at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in Loreto Theater.
The 3 p.m. reading will be followed by a panel discussion and talkback that includes the playwright and an original member of the Little Rock Nine.
The presentations will benefit the Little Rock Nine Foundation.
Information: SheenCenter.org or (212) 925-2812.