Phylicia Rashad, Spike Lee, Andre De Shields and More Offer Personalized Valentine's Day Messages to Support New Federal Theatre

Phylicia Rashad, Spike Lee, Andre De Shields and More Offer Personalized Valentine's Day Messages to Support New Federal Theatre

Woodie King, Jr.'s New Federal Theatre will celebrate its 44th anniversary with a special fundraising campaign, "Love For New Federal Theatre." Celebrity participants and supporters of NFT themselves, including Phylicia Rashad, Spike Lee, Alicia Keys, Melba Moore, Marla Gibbs, Robert Hooks, Roscoe Orman, Ruby Dee, Avery Brooks, Glynn Turman, Kene Holiday, Chadwick Boseman, Petri Hawkins Byrd, Impotep Gary Byrd, Debbie Allen, Lynn Whitfield, Lamman Rucker, John Amos, Robert Townsend, Leslie Uggams, Ted Lange, Andre DeShields, Mike Tyson and Danny Glover, among others, will fans will have the opportunity to order a limited number of personalized Valentine's Day messages. These celebrity messages will be available for purchase on a first come, first served basis.

Interested fans will be able to link to the designated website, personalize a Valentine's Day message for a friend or family member and select a celebrity to record the message. Each message will be delivered in digital format to the cell phone or email address of the intended recipient.

All proceeds will support New Federal's stage productions and community outreach. "This is a new fundraising concept for us,' said Woodie King, Jr., founder and President of New Federal Theatre. "We're really pleased that so many celebrities agreed to participate in this effort and we hope theatre fans will be as excited as we are."

Project is produced by Kimberley LaMarque Orman. New York studio sessions provided by Premiere Studios NY. Studio sessions are produced by Vincent Davis.

Founded by Woodie King, Jr. in 1970, New Federal Theatre has gone on to international acclaim for its bold mission to integrate minorities and women into the mainstream of American theater by training artists for the profession and by presenting plays by minorities and women to integrated, multicultural audiences - plays which evoke the truth through beautiful, artistic recreations of ourselves. Specializing in minority drama, New Federal Theatre has brought the joy of the living stage to not only the minority community living on the Lower East Side near NFT's home at Henry Street Settlement's Abrons Arts Center, but to audiences from all over the metropolitan area. NFT has provided emerging playwrights with the opportunity to have their works produced; it has brought minority actors, directors and designers to national attention and sponsored numerous ethnic theater groups and events. NFT's vocational training workshops continue to prepare minority people for employment in theater and related fields. Most importantly, NFT provides the multi-ethnic Lower East Side, as well as the New York Metro area, with theater of the highest caliber that relates to the interest of different cultural groups. The impact of NFT is nothing less than extraordinary. Writers first presented at NFT are now part of the literary fabric of the American mainstream. Many plays attained national significance and reached much wider audiences by having been showcased at NFT. The alumni list of NFT productions reads like a Who's Who of American theater, film and television: Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Debbie Allen, Phylicia Rashad, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jackee Harry, Laurence Fishburne, Dick Anthony Williams, Taurean Blacque, Debbie Morgan, Robert Downey, Jr. Garrett Morris, Lynn Whitfield, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Ruby Dee, Leslie Uggams, Samuel L. Jackson and many more. Under Woodie King, Jr.'s stewardship, NFT presented over 280 productions in the last four decades including: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, What the Winesellers Buy, Reggae, The Taking of Miss Janie and The Dance and The Railroad. His directorial credits are extensive and include work in film as well as in theater. He has directed at the most prominent theaters across the country and has been the recipient of numerous awards from AUDELCO, The NAACP, Drama Critics Circle and an Obie Award for Sustained Achievement.

To purchase your celebrity Valentine's Day messages, for a $249 donation, visit or call NFT at 212-353-1176.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

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