NEW YORK, April 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Opening Act, an innovative nonprofit that provides free after-school theater programming to New York City's most under-served public high schools, today announced that Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon (The Wiz LIVE!, A Raisin in the Sun) will helm Tracey Scott Wilson's THE STORY for Opening Act's 10th Annual Benefit Play Reading at New World Stages on May 3rd, 2016. Tickets are now available to the public via www.openingact.org/tickets.
Leon, who has long supported and advocated for arts in education, said, "I'm thrilled to once again direct Opening Act's Play Reading event this year. What I love about Opening Act is how they use the incredible power of theater to engage and energize young people, providing them with the stage to tell their stories. Join us for what I know will be a moving and important night of theater."
Headlining the Opening Act event are actors Aja Naomi King (How To Get Away With Murder, The Birth of a Nation), Dulé Hill (Psych, West Wing), Joshua Jackson (The Affair, Dawson's Creek), Loretta Devine (Waiting to Exhale, Grey's Anatomy), and Celia Keenan-Bolger (Peter and the Starcatcher,…Spelling Bee) alongside current Opening Act student Brittany Adebumola. The play reading is being cast by Emmy Award-winner and Opening Act Artistic Advisory Board member Alexa Fogel (The Wire).
Wilson's THE STORY was first produced in 2003 at New York City's The Public Theater and is an exploration of race, class and politics through the prism of media. Wilson commented, "Working with the [Opening Act] students really inspired me to want to go home and write for them."
In addition to celebrity and student performances, this event will include a pre-show reception as well as a Chef's Tasting Menu for limited VIP tables, sponsored by Naturally Delicious.
Opening Act also today announced the appointment of casting director Alexa Fogel, arts educator Louis Scheeder, entertainment lawyer Ira Schreck, and director/playwright Patrick Vassel to its Artistic Advisory Board (AAB). Their appointment will be celebrated at the Annual Benefit Play Reading.
Opening Act's star-studded AAB is currently comprised of 16 members committed to supporting the group's work in high-need New York City public high schools that have little to no arts education programming. Board members include: Uzo Aduba (actor, Orange is the New Black), Kristen Bell (actor, Frozen), Alexa Fogel (casting director, The Wire), Marcus Gardley (playwright, dance of the holy ghosts: a play on memory), Jared Gertner (actor, Book of Mormon), Richard Hester (production, Jersey Boys), Matt Hoverman (playwright, The Glint), Kwame Kwei-Armah (playwright/director/actor/broadcaster, Elmina's Kitchen), Kobi Libii (actor, Amazon's Alpha House), Donald Margulies (playwright, Collected Stories), Andrew McCarthy (actor, Pretty in Pink), Michael Mastro (actor/director, West Side Story), Susan Mufson (Opening Act supporter), Lizabeth Newman (Opening Act supporter), Louis Scheeder (Associate Dean of Faculty for the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University), Ira Schreck (entertainment lawyer at Schreck Rose Dapello & Adams LLP), Jean Smart (actor, Designing Women), Cecily Strong (actor, Saturday Night Live), and Patrick Vassel (director/playwright, Associate Director of Hamilton).
"We are thrilled to be working with such great talents - from Kenny to Tracey to our incredible cast to our inspiring group of Artistic Advisory Board members - to bring attention to the need for impactful theater programming for New York City teens," said Suzy Myers Jackson, Executive Director of Opening Act. "Our programs give students an opportunity to have their voices heard and celebrated, and our impact goes far beyond artistic achievement; our students tell us over and over again they wouldn't have graduated high school if it weren't for Opening Act. This event is critical to our ability to make those stories continue to happen in our city."
Opening Act is an innovative nonprofit that brings free, long-term theater programs to 36 of New York City's most under-served public high schools. Through theater, Opening Act students gain confidence, pride, and the knowledge that they can succeed at anything in life. Opening Act's vision is to see that every New York City public school student has access to an artistic space where they can develop commitment, community, and leadership through their artistic achievement. Please visit www.openingact.org to learn more.
10th Annual Play Reading of THE STORY to benefit Opening Act will take place the evening of Tuesday, May 3, 2016
New World Stages is located at 340 W. 50th Street in Manhattan.
$250 Event Ticket (Performance, Pre-Show Reception with Open Wine Bar and Hors d'oeuvres, Post-Show Champagne and Dessert);
$550 Rising Star Ticket (all perks of Event Ticket, plus priority seating for performance, program recognition & a Rising Star Sponsorship to support one student in Opening Act's Adopt a School Program)
Media Contact: Erika Atkins, 703-431-2402
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tony-award-winner-kenny-leon-returns-to-direct-opening-acts-benefit-play-reading-to-support-nyc-after-school-theater-programs-300247679.html
SOURCE Opening Act