Photo Coverage: Martin Sheen, Olympia Dukakis & More at The Living Theatre Fundraising Gala
Acclaimed actors Martin Sheen and Olympia Dukakis, legendary rock musician Ray Manzarek of The Doors, and poets Michael McClure and Anne Waldman joined Judith Malina and other artists for a one-night-only gala to benefit The Living Theatre on Friday, December 18, beginning with cocktails and dinner at 6pm, followed by a program of music and performance at The Players Club in Manhattan.
"The Living Theatre is hosting this once-in-a-generation benefit to enable us to hold onto our beautiful performance space on Clinton Street in Lower Manhattan," said Judith Malina, co-founder and Artistic Director of The Living Theatre, the oldest experimental theatre group still producing in the United States.
"Since opening the new theatre in 2007, we have produced five dazzling mainstage productions with our marvelous, young ensemble of actors. In these times, raising money to support avant-garde work is especially difficult," added Ms. Malina. "So, I am calling on all the longtime friends of The Living Theatre to come together and raise the fundamental costs to help keep this vital performance space open."
Participants who performed selected readings during the event included multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Martin Sheen, best known for his work on TV's "The West Wing," and in such films as "Apocalypse Now," and "The Subject Was Roses," in which he reprised the role he originated on Broadway in 1964; and Oscar-winner Olympia Dukakis whose most memorable roles include Rose Castorini in "Moonstruck" and Clairee Belcher in "Steel Magnolias," and the title character in the one-woman Broadway play ROSE.
Sheen celebrated his 50th-year anniversary with The Living Theatre, joining in 1959 to portray Ernie in the company's OBIE Award-winning production of THE CONNECTION, and serving on its board of directors for the last 25 years.
Special guests and performers also included legendary rock musician Ray Manzerak, co-founder and keyboardist for The Doors; acclaimed writers Michael McClure ("The Beard") and Anne Waldman, author of RED NOIR which is currently playing at The Living Theatre.
The evening also included a rare screening of select scenes from the documentary "Babbleonia" featuring Al Pacino - with whom Malina co-starred in "Dog Day Afternoon" - in which he discusses The Living Theatre's influence on his life and career.
The Living Theatre was co-founded in 1947 by current artistic director Judith Malina and Julian Beck, who served as the company's executive director until his death in 1985. For more than six decades, the company has presented a unique body of work that has influenced theatre the world over, staging nearly a hundred productions, performed in nine languages in twenty-nine countries on five continents. The Living Theatre has toured extensively throughout the world, often in non-traditional venues, such as streets and prisons. It has greatly influenced other American experimental theatre companies, notably The Open Theatre (founded by Living Theatre member Joseph Chaikin) and Bread & Puppet Theatre. Its productions have won three Obie Awards: THE CONNECTION (1959); THE BRIG (1963) and FRANKENSTEIN (1968).
For additional information, visit www.livingtheatre.org.
Photo Credit: Ryan Burke
Ray Manzarek & Michael McClure
Julie Patton & Anne Waldman
Dorothy Fujikowa & Ray Manzarek
The Living Theatre Ensemble
Vinie Burrows & Eno Edet
Anne Waldman & Living Theatre Guests
From This Author Ryan Burke