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Kristen Bell, Uzo Aduba, Cecily Strong & More Join NYC After School Theater Programming Artistic Advisory Board

Kristen Bell, Uzo Aduba, Cecily Strong & More Join NYC After School Theater Programming Artistic Advisory BoardOpening Act, an innovative nonprofit that provides free after-school theater programming to New York City's most under-served public high schools, today announced the launch of its Artistic Advisory Board (AAB), whose members will serve as ambassadors of the organization. The launch of the AAB coincides with Opening Act's 8 th Annual Benefit Play Reading at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Broadway on May 12, 2014. Tickets are available to the public via www.telecharge.com- 1 800-447-7400.

We are thrilled to be welcoming great talent from across the theater, television, and film industries to bring attention to the need for impactful theater programming for New York City high school youth," said Suzy Myers Jackson, Executive Director of Opening Act. "The AAB's support makes it possible for us to fill the void in areas around New York City where there exists a tremendous arts shortage in public schools, giving students - often for the first time - an opportunity to have their voices heard and applauded.That transformative experience goes well beyond an artistic accomplishment; students tell us over and over again they wouldn't have graduated high school if it weren't for Opening Act."

Opening Act's star-studded AAB is comprised of 14 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: Actors Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Kristen Bell (Frozen), Andrew McCarthy (Pretty in Pink), and Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live), as well as Opening Act advocates and supporters 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), Kobi Libii (actor, Amazon's Alpha House), Donald Margulies (playwright, Collected Stories), Michael Mastro (actor/director, West Side Story), Susan Mufson (Opening Act supporter), Lizabeth Newman (Opening Act supporter), and Jean Smart (actor, Designing Women).

"After participating in a Masterclass with Opening Act last fall, I found myself so impressed by the level of excitement from the students towards the organization and the level of passion coming from the educators," said AAB member Uzo Aduba. "Opening Act's determination to make a difference in these young lives through artistic expression is what has committed me to this organization. I believe in their mission and want nothing more than to be an aid on the beautiful road Opening Act has already paved."


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