New film Sing Sing based on real-life arts rehabilitation program at Sing Sing Correctional Facility

March 8, 2024

“Based on the real-life arts rehabilitation program founded at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, [Greg] Kwedar’s film [Sing Sing] is about a theater troupe at the facility in New York who find escape from the harshness of their realities of incarceration through Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA). The men work on a play and perform it for the other people in prison and for those on the outside who come in to view it.

“Every six months, the men gather to help decide their next play, looking to Divine G (Colman Domingo) to lead the efforts. When Divine G recruits a new member called Divine Eye, played by the real Clarence ‘Divine Eye’ Maclin, he gets more than he bargained for. The group dynamics shift when Divine Eye suggests they do a comedy this time. Ancient Egypt, Freddy Krueger, and Hamlet find themselves in the same play.

Watch the trailer:

Sing Sing highlights the prison system and its efforts to break down a person

“Through this theater troupe, we see the discomfort and vulnerability of these men. We also see the formation of trust and integrity as they work as a team. The film highlights the bond that develops between the men.

“You would think all of these men who played themselves in Sing Sing were professionally trained actors. They are able to go toe-to-toe with the uber-talented Colman Domingo and give audiences a memorable performance. The man that surprised us was Maclin (Divine Eye). The chemistry between him and Domingo was strong. You could tell this was a bromance for life. Other cast members included Paul Raci as Brent, Sean San Jose, Sean ‘Dino’ Johnson, Jon-Adrian Velazquez, David J. Giraud, and John ‘Divine G’ Whitfield. There is a genuine authenticity in the performances on screen. It blurs the line between reality and narrative. It was a beautiful fellowship to see. …

Sing Sing highlights the prison system and its efforts to break down a person to ‘make them into a subservient machine.’ The cast and crew show us how theater can put people back together and allow them to discover who they are. On screen, through these performances, we can see the rediscovery of empathy and adjusting outlooks on life. It’s beautiful.”

Read the full review at

NOTE: The film makes its U.S. premiere at SXSW today, and A24 will release the movie in theaters in July.

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