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Rory O'Malley, Anthony Rapp & More Set for THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME Benefit for BC/EFA, 5/20

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Rory O'Malley, Anthony Rapp & More Set for THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME Benefit for BC/EFA, 5/20

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS presents a one-night, 20th anniversary performance of the landmark show THE NIGHT Larry Kramer KISSED ME at 8 pm on Monday, May 20 at the Gerard W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College (524 West 59th Street, NYC).

For its 20th anniversary, THE NIGHT Larry Kramer KISSED ME will be re-imagined from a one-man show to one featuring an ensemble cast performing a play that The New York Times originally called "rivetingly angry, intense, frenetic, frank and touching." The special performance is produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and benefits BC/EFA and Sero Project.

Actor and activist David Drake wrote THE NIGHT Larry Kramer KISSED ME in the early 1990s. After joining the activist group ACT UP, Drake began writing autobiographical monologues about the AIDS crisis that eventually became the one-man show about this critical point in American history.

First performed by Drake himself, who won an Obie for his work, the original off-Broadway run at the Perry Street Theatre became one of the longest-running solo shows in New York theatre history. There now have been nearly 100 productions worldwide and it's been translated into French, Portuguese, Spanish and Greek.

"What began as an expression of my feelings became a work that reflected the cultural zeitgeist of a community," Drake says. "When the 20th anniversary of the play approached, I started thinking about a reconfigured version with a cast, rather than as a solo performance. Incorporating a full cast conveys today's passionate cries from our community's heart while honoring the legacy of activism that brought us to this transformative moment in our history."

The one-night-only benefit reading of THE NIGHT Larry Kramer KISSED ME features an ensemble of talented actors taking on the story, including Drake, Brandon Cordeiro (Pearl at Kumble Theater of the Performing Arts), two-time Tony Award nominee Robin De Jesús (La Cage aux Folles, In the Heights), two-time Tony nominee André De Shields (The Full Monty, Play On!), Claybourne Elder (Bonnie & Clyde), Tony nominee Rory O'Malley (The Book of Mormon), Anthony Rapp (Rent), Wesley Taylor (Smash, The Addams Family), Chad Ryan (Chicago premiere of The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me), Donald C. Shorter, Jr. (La Cage aux Folles national tour), Aaron Tone (BearCity 2) and Tony winner BD Wong (M. Butterfly).

THE NIGHT Larry Kramer KISSED ME is directed by Tony nominee Robert La Fosse (Dancin', Jerome Robbins' Broadway).

Tickets start at $40 and can be purchased online at broadwaycares.org or by calling 212.840.0770, ext 268. VIP tickets also are available and include a reception with the cast and other benefits.

"This performance benefits two organizations very close to my heart," Drake says. "Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Sero Project are, respectively, headed by Tom Viola and Sean Strub, my friends who believed in my story from the very start."

For more information on the Sero Project, which is working to end inappropriate criminal prosecutions of people with HIV, go to seroproject.com.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Executive Director Tom Viola says: "In the two decades since THE NIGHT Larry Kramer KISSED ME debuted, treatments for saving lives have advanced, yet HIV-related stigma has, sadly, increased. The treatment for stigma isn't found at a pharmacy, it is accomplished by empowering the stigmatized, educating the public and providing a path to justice for all."

Sean Strub, executive director of Sero Project, adds: "The message so eloquently conveyed in THE NIGHT Larry Kramer KISSED ME is needed today even more so than before. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Sero are fighting HIV-related stigma, discrimination and criminalization, and working to ensure that vital, life-affirming, and, in many cases, life-saving services are available to those who need them."

Strub and Viola produced THE NIGHT Larry Kramer KISSED ME when it first premiered Off-Broadway.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $225 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

Broadway Cares awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.

For more information, please visit Broadway Cares online at broadwaycares.org, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/BCEFA, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/BCEFA, watch us on YouTube at youtube.com/BCEFAtv and pin us on Pinterest at pinterest.com/BCEFA.

Sero Project is a national alliance of people with HIV working to realize the vision of the 1983 Denver Principles manifesto to empower people with HIV and combat HIV-related stigma, discrimination and criminalization. For more information, visit seroproject.com, like them on Facebook at facebook.com/TheSeroProject and follow on Twitter at twitter.com/theseroproject.

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