Two old friends from Flint, Michigan — Rep. Dan Kildee and filmmaker Michael Moore — have talked about the water crisis in their hometown before.
On Sunday, the two had that conversation before an audience on Broadway.
Moore often discusses the Flint water crisis on his show “The Terms of My Surrender,” which debuted at Manhattan’s Belasco Theatre in August. The 63-year-old Oscar winner was born in Flint four years before Kildee, a Democrat who has represented the area in Congress since 2013.
Moore’s production team reached out to the congressman’s staff about him appearing as a special guest for the show’s interview segment.
“It was a new experience for me and I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would ever be onstage on Broadway,” Kildee said. “But I guess I’ll go wherever I can to talk about my hometown, even in front of the floodlights on Broadway.”
Kildee’s friendship with Moore has endured for more than 40 years and the two talk regularly.
“From time to time, we’ll come together on issues like the Flint water crisis,” he said.
Kildee said he relished having a new forum to talk about the crisis in his district. Onstage, he noted that what happened in Flint was not out of the ordinary.
“There are Flint, Michigans, all over the country,” he said. “And if we don’t get it right, and we don’t realize that we better start investing in these places where the people have been left behind, what happened in Flint is going to be small compared to what happens in other parts of the country.”
Kildee told HOH after the show that “anyone who thinks that Flint is some kind of anomaly is sadly mistaken. Flint’s a warning that this can happen in any community and [it’s] inevitable that it will happen in other places.”
The congressman said he was a “politically active high school student” when he first got to know Moore.
They were both elected to neighboring school boards in Michigan at age 18 — Kildee to the Flint School Board and Moore to the one in Davison, a Flint suburb.
“We’ve been friends one way or another ever since [and] stayed in contact through the years,” Kildee said. “He’s obviously moved on to other things and spends some time traveling the country but we’ve been able to maintain a good friendship.”
Other guests Moore has interviewed on his show include California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, actor Mark Ruffalo, feminist icon Gloria Steinem, and political commentators Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, and Arianna Huffington.
“It was a lot of fun and it was important because, for me, I’ll go to any audience that I can to continue to try and highlight the plight of my hometown,” Kildee said.
“The Terms of My Surrender” runs through Oct. 22 at the Belasco Theatre (111 W. 44th St., New York, NY).