Chautauqua: Week Two

Sacred Music

Chautauqua Institution is proud to announce the program lineup for Week Two of its 2018 season. The week, which concludes July 6, features presentations by renowned guests such as New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb, New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks, author Amy Chua and an improv performance by Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” fame.

Chautauqua Institution’s nine-week season features morning and afternoon lectures focusing on weekly cultural themes. Week Two examines the definition of “American Identity,” lecturers on the 10:45 a.m. Amphitheater platform will use both politics and faith in an attempt to answer some central questions: How have we defined American identity throughout our history? What stories have we told to shape that identity? What are the political, economic and social factors that shape our contemporary definitions? And what do these different national identities — at times in conflict with one another — mean for our democracy and the prosperity of all Americans?

The Interfaith Lecture Series in Week Two explores the theme “Religion and American Identity.” This week will examine the connecting questions between religion and the evolution of an American identity including: Why is it that America continues to be the most religious nation in the developed world? How have various “moments” in American religious history shaped how America understands itself? Eboo Patel, founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core, will serve as respondent for the week.

The Rev. David Gushee will serve as the ecumenical guest chaplain for the week. Gushee is a Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University, as well as being the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 22 books.


David Brooks

Morning: Taina Caragol is a curator of painting, sculpture and Latino art and history at the National Portrait Gallery. For the past five years, Caragol has led the effort to increase the representation of Latino historical figures and artists at the museum. During this time she has added more than 130 portraits to the museum’s collection and curated the exhibitions “Portraiture Now: Staging the Self” and “One Life Dolores Huerta.”

Afternoon: Robert P. Jones is the founding CEO of the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute, a columnist for The Atlantic online and the author of “The End of White Christian America,” a New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice” book. A leading scholar and commentator on religion, culture and, politics, Jones is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles on religion and public policy, and appears regularly in a “Faith by the Numbers” segment on “Interfaith Voices,” the nation’s leading religion news magazine on public radio.


Morning: Jelani Cobb is a staff writer for The New Yorker, where he writes about the enormous complexity of race in America. In 2015, Cobb received the Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism for his New Yorker columns. Cobb has penned a series of articles in The New Yorker about race, the police, and injustice including “The Anger in Ferguson,” “Murders in Charleston” and “What We Talk About When We Talk About Reparations.”

Afternoon: Colin Woodard is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. Woodard in the author of “American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle between Individual Liberty and the Common Good,” which was a finalist for the 2017 Chautauqua Prize. He is also a contributing editor at Politico and State & National Affairs Writer at the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram. Woodard has won the 2012 George Polk Award, was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting and was named 2014 Journalist of the Year by the Maine Press Association.

Jelani Cobb


Morning: James and Deborah Fallows are co-authors of “Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America” and co-creators of The Atlantic’s “City Makers: American Futures” project. For the last five years, the Fallowses have been traveling across America in a single-engine prop airplane and reporting on the people, organizations and ideas re-shaping the country. James Fallows has written for The Atlantic since the late 1970s. He has also spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter. Deborah Fallows is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and author of “Dreaming in Chinese.”

Afternoon: Spencer W. McBride is a historian and documentary editor at The Joseph Smith Papers and the author of “Pulpit and Nation: Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America.” McBride is a specialist in the history of religion and political culture during the American Revolution and the early American republic.


Morning: David Brooks has been an op-ed columnist for The New York Times since 2003 and is currently a regular commentator on the “PBS NewsHour.” He is the author of several books including The Social Animal: “The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement” and, most recently, “The Road to Character.”

Taina Caragol

Afternoon: John Halpin is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress focusing on political theory, communications, and public opinion analysis. He is the co-director and creator of the Progressive Studies Program at the Center for American Progress, an interdisciplinary project researching the intellectual history, foundational principles and public understanding of progressivism.


Morning: Amy Chua is the John M. Duff Professor of Law at Yale Law School and author of several books, including, most recently “Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations.” In 2011, Chua was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, one of The Atlantic’s Brave Thinkers, and one of Foreign Policy’s Global Thinkers.

Afternoon: Rabbi Adam Chalom has served since 2007 as dean for North America of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, the leadership and rabbinical training institution of the worldwide movement of secular humanistic Judaism. He is on the editorial board of the journal Humanistic Judaism and has served on the Advisory Council of The Humanist Institute. This program is a continuation of the Department of Religion’s “Interfaith Fridays” series of conversations with religious leaders from nine different prominent faiths.


Robert Jones

3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 6, Hall of Philosophy: Caroline Fraser will deliver the CLSC Author Presentation on her Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder.”



Aside from the daily lectures, Week Two features a variety of evening entertainment programs in the Amphitheater each night.

The American Legion Band of the Tonawandas will play in the Amphitheater at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. This 90-member band was formed in 1929 by World War I veterans and American Legion members.

Spencer Mcbride

At 8:15 p.m. on Monday, the Music School Festival Orchestra, directed by Timothy Muffitt, MSFO artistic and music director, will perform and showcase Chautauqua’s top-quality student talent.

Cirque Montage will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the Amphitheater. This troupe of international performers hails from eight different countries and is comprised of aerialists, ground acts, a singer and a musician.

The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra performs at 8 p.m. Wednesday, with the popular “Independence Day Pops Celebration” concert. Stuart Chafetz conducts while singer N’Kenge serves as the solo vocalist.

The CSO returns at 8:15 p.m. Thursday to accompany the Charlotte Ballet. Rossen Milanov serves as the conductor, Charlotte Ballet Artistic Director Hope Muir serves as director, and Vahn Armstrong serves as the solo violinist.

Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood will perform in Chautauqua as part of their “Scared Scriptless” Tour at 8:15 p.m. Friday. These two stars of the Emmy-nominated TV program “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” will keep multiple generations laughing with their PG-rated family show.


Chautauqua Theater Company continues its run of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon, adapted from Dion Boucicault’s 1859 hit melodrama about the fate of “octoroon” woman in the Antebellum South. This hilarious and incisive new play — winner of The Obie Award for Best American New Play — jabs at the history of slavery and identity in America. An Octoroon will run at 6 p.m. Saturday, 2:15 and 8 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Tuesday, 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, 2:15 and 8 p.m. Thursday and 4 p.m. Friday.

Chautauqua welcomes back ChamberFest Cleveland, who will perform at 4 p.m. Monday in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall as part of the Chautauqua Chamber Music Guest Artist Series.

Gate Pass Information

Day tickets are available for purchase at the Main Gate Welcome Center Ticket Office on the day of your visit. Morning tickets grant visitors access to the grounds from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $24. Afternoon tickets grant access from noon to 8 p.m. for $17. Combined morning/afternoon passes allow access from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and cost $41. Evening passes grant access from 4 p.m. to midnight with the cost varying based on the evening entertainment. For tickets and information, visit or call 716-357-6250.

About Chautauqua Institution

The pre-eminent expression of lifelong learning in the United States, Chautauqua Institution comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. Over the course of nine weeks, more than 100,000 people visit Chautauqua and participate in programs, classes and community events for all ages — all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue.

Amy Chua

Theater Entertainment