New 52nd Street Project Presents WHAT'S MY LINE: THE PROFESSIONAL PLAYS This Weekend
The 52nd Street Project makes a difference in the lives of Hell's Kitchen (Clinton) kids by pairing them with theater professionals who mentor them through the creation of original theater. For its cornerstone acting program, the One-on-One series takes a group of ten Project kids out of town to a country retreat for a week in the summer. Each child is assigned a playwright who is charged to write a musical specifically for that child. The shows are rehearsed over the course of the week and performed informally for the community in the retreat setting. Upon returning to Manhattan, the plays are performed at the Project's Five Angels Theater (789 Tenth Avenue, 2nd floor, NYC), supported by professional designers and crews who volunteer their services.
The Project will present the results of this year's Block Island One-on-One's, What's My Line: The Professional Plays, this weekend, July 18-20. Performances will take place Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm, and Sunday at 3pm. Admission is free, but reservations must be made in advance at 212.642.5052 or www.52project.org.
The show comprises ten fully realized mini-musicals, each featuring original music by Kim D. Sherman.
The kids are Adam Alkindi, Duaa Alkindi, Kiara Figueroa, Joshua Gomez, David Ortiz, Kayla Ortiz, Emily Roman, Karen Tineo, Milen Tokarev and Kaylee Zambrano.
One of the plays is written by Project founder Willie Reale. The other adult artists include Dahlia Azama, Daiva Deupree, Madeleine George, Itamar Moses, Genesis Oliver, Carra Patterson, Nick Platt, Michael Propster, Jeremy Rishe, John Sheehy, Amirah Vann and Cate Yu.
About The 52nd Street Project: The 52nd Street Project was founded in 1981 by actor/playwright and 1994 MacArthur Fellow Willie Reale in response to a deepening need to improve the quality of life for New York's inner-city children. Reale, an actor, playwright, and company member of the Ensemble Studio Theater (EST), used his company privileges to reach out to the children of the neighborhood by creating theatrical endeavors specifically for them. This was done with the cooperation and support of EST and its across-the-street-neighbor, the Police Athletic League's Duncan Center. The Project is now an independent not-for-profit organization that creates over eighty new plays and serves over 130 children every year.
The 52nd Street Project has been a place where many preeminent theater-makers have volunteered their efforts to mentor kids from Hell's Kitchen. To name just a few: Billy Crudup, Peter Dinklage, Edie Falco, Nancy Giles, James McDaniel, Frances McDormand, Cynthia Nixon, Oliver Platt, Martha Plimpton and Lili Taylor.
The Project is about making children proud of themselves. The Project is not about teaching children to act, although they will learn to. It is not about teaching them to write plays, although they will learn that as well. What it is about is giving a kid an experience of success. It is about giving a kid an opportunity to prove that he or she has something of value to offer, something that comes from within that he or she alone possesses, something that cannot be taken away.
In order to make The 52nd Street Project experience available to children in other locations, The Project has published a manual and other supporting materials, which have been distributed as far as Vancouver and South Africa. There are now projects underway across the country in places such as Los Angeles; Chicago; Trenton, NJ; Williamstown, MA; Providence, RI; and London, England.
For more information, like the 52nd Street Project on Facebook or follow @52ndStProject on Twitter.