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THANK YOU, EVERYONE, FOR A SPECTACULAR NIGHT IN OA HISTORY!

Couldn’t attend? You can still support the event! Donate $25 to sponsor one Opening Act workshop for a student. $500 supports a full year of programming for a talented NYC teen!

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Director Kwame Kwei-Armah takes a selfie with the cast, creative team, and Opening Act students and supporters after the successful event. Photo credit John Labbe.

SEE MORE GREAT PHOTOS HERE!

It was a magical night to remember! On Monday, May 12, 2014 Opening Act proudly presented its 8th Annual Benefit Play Reading of dance of the holy ghosts: a play on memory. Written by award-winning playwright and former Opening Act Teaching Artist, Marcus Gardley, and performed by Tony Award-winning actors Courtney B. Vance (Nora Ephron’s Lucky GuyLaw and Order: Criminal Intent) and Lillias White (The Life, Fela!, Dreamgirls), along with Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black, Godspell), Doug Eskew (The Color Purple, Five Guys Named Moe), former Opening Act Teaching Artist, Kobi Libii (Amazon’s Alpha House, Atlantic Theater Company’s CQ/CX), and current Opening Act student in her Broadway debut, Brittany Adebumola, this year’s benefit reading was a true celebration of the Opening Act family!

HUGE THANKS goes out to our Director, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Assistant Director, Sam Godfrey, Sound Designer, Dave Sanderson, Stage Manager, Kate Kuhle, and Production Assistant, Taylor Miller, for all of their brilliance, dedication, and love for this production. Additional thanks goes out to our friends at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre — Jim, Bethany, Josh, Tim, Dave, Geoffrey, Richard, and all the wonderful people on the crew who made this event possible.

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The cast of dance of the holy ghosts: a play on memory — from left to right: Kobi Libii, Brittany Adebumola, Courtney B. Vance, Lillias White, Doug Eskew, Uzo Aduba, and Christian Felix. Photo credit John Labbe.

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playwright Marcus Gardley & director Kwame Kwei-Armah

We were also proud to announce at the event the launch of our first ever Artistic Advisory Board.  Here are our esteemed members:

Uzo Aduba * Kristen Bell * Marcus Gardley * Jared Gertner * Richard Hester * Matt Hoverman * Kobi Libii * Donald Margulies * Michael Mastro * Andrew McCarthy * Susan Mufson * Lizabeth Newman * Jean Smart * Cecily Strong

Extra special thanks goes out to our sponsors and the incredible individuals on our Board and Event Committees:

EVENT SPONSORS

ABG Print * Markit * Susan Mufson * Naturally DeliciousTierra Innovation

STEERING COMMITTEE

Cristi Andrews Cohen * Andrea Beecher * Loren Black * Elizabeth Buckley Lewis * Louisa Higgins * Helen Lin * Suzy Myers Jackson * Kate Perkins * Christine Tash * Rahul Tripathi * Bennett Windheim

HOST COMMITTEE

Kym Blanchard * Joel Fan * Iliana Guibert * Cynthia Hanson * David Hsia * Toan Huynh * Diane Jackson * Amy Kadomatsu * Justin Klosky * Ben Korman * Rain Kramer * Keyvan Lajevardi * Gene Levitin * Charon Marden * Jodie Patterson * Jen Pehr * Stephanie Rappoport-Wahlgren * Jonathan Ross * Andrew Schorr * Linda Siegel * Sandy Southwell * Lisa Younger * Daria Zawadzki

OPENING ACT’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Loren Black * Kym Blanchard * Elizabeth Buckley Lewis * Robert Burton * Jonathan Dyck * Michael Fleming * Ali Kamin * Helen Lin * Tim McCarthy * Yina Moore * Jonathan Schorr * Rahul Tripathi * Jamie Trowbridge

ADDITIONAL THANKS GOES TO

Acker Merrall * King Displays * PropNSpoon * PRG * Nunu Chocolates * Paramount Hotel * Intercontinental Hotel * Golden Touch Transportation * Carroll Music 

and all of Premium, VIP, and package ticket buyers!

LOTS OF LOVE GOES OUT TO THE BROADWAY COMMUNITY FOR THEIR INCREDIBLE SUPPORT!

A HUGE ROUND OF APPLAUSE GOES OUT TO OUR SILENT and LIVE AUCTION DONORS:

Andrew McCarthy * Kristen Bell * Cecily Strong * Broadway.com * the Producers of Sleep No More * the Producers of A Raisin in The Sun * Helen Lin & Chieh Chung * Elite Island Resorts * HaywardLuxury.com * Dave & Ali Kamin * Business Improvisations * O.C.D. Experience * Jonathan Schorr * Loren Black * the Producers of Mothers & Sons * ClayNew York Islanders * NHL Foundation * Essence * Tom Woodhouse * Sasithon Photography * Montmarte * Manhattan Theatre Club * Naselli & Co * American Museum of Natural History * Rachel Brown * Magnolia Bakery * Richard Sandler * Orpheus Chamber Orchestra * Sophia Tang * Carissa Fiorillo * Bakehouse * Discovery Communications * Marcus Gardley, Kwame Kwei-Armah, and the entire cast of dance of the holy ghosts * The Flea Theater * Kate Sortino * Max Burgio & Aspen Social Club * Fish Eddys * Jazz at Lincoln Center * Matt Walters * Pierce Delahunt * Davina Zagury * The Rubin Museum * Paul Wahlgren * Recorded Books Audiobooks

Mad props goes out to our Invitation designer and Wizard of All Design Things, Benjamin Lundberg.

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THE PLAY and PLAYWRIGHT: Marcus Gardley’s acclaimed play, dance of the holy ghosts: a play on memory, follows the story of Oscar Clifton, a Blues man stuck living through his memories of the past until his estranged grandson pays a visit. This poetic family drama chronicles their saga through love, regret, and missed opportunities. A bold new voice in American theater, Marcus’s work has consistently been likened to that of August Wilson, and The New Yorker describes Gardley as the “heir to Garcia Lorca, Pirandello, and Tennessee Williams.”

THE DIRECTOR: Kwame Kwei-Armah is the Artistic Director of Baltimore Center Stage, the State Theatre of Maryland, and Chancellor of the University of the Arts London, Europe’s largest provider of education in the arts. He has been nominated for a Lawrence Oliver Award and a BAFTA. Kwame has won the Evening Standard Charles Wintor Award for Most Promising Playwright, Screen Nation Award for Favourite TV Actor, 100 Black Men of Britain Public Figure Award, GPA Man of the year, and The RECON Local Community Leadership Award.

THE EVENT: Opening Act’s annual Star-Studded Benefit Play Reading raises critical funds for our programs in NYC’s most under-served schools while providing our audience with an unforgettable night of theater. Our previous sold-out events have featured the talents of Beau Bridges, Michael McKean, Jean Smart, Cecily Strong, Stockard Channing, Laura Benanti, Cynthia Nixon, John Slattery, Edie Falco, and Bernadette Peters, to name a few. Check out photos of our past events here, and see what Edie Falco and her fellow Side Man actors had to say about the impact of theater in their lives here.

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