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52nd Street Project Presents MAKE IT SNAPPY: PLAYS IN A NEW YORK MINUTE, Beg. Tonight

The 52nd Street Project makes a difference in the lives of countless Hell's Kitchen (Clinton) kids by pairing them with theater professionals who mentor them through the creation of original theater. For its One-on-One series, the its cornerstone acting program, the Project takes a group of ten 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 play specifically for that child. The plays 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 results of this year's Block Island One-on-Ones, Make It Snappy: Plays in a New York Minute, will run tonight, July 19-21. The evening comprises ten fully realized mini-musicals, each featuring original music by Eric March.

Performances will take place tonight and Saturday, July 19 and 20, at 7:30pm; and Sunday, July 21 at 3pm. Admission is free, but reservations must be made in advance at 212.642.5052 or www.52project.org.

The kid performers include Ezekiel Albarron, Jayda Camacho, Kai Ceniza, Brooke Fraser, Stephanie Macias, Timmy Miller, Matthew Orozco, Tyleek Mark Powell, Christin-Delaine Gavriella Tetteh and Damian Tineo.

The adult performers are Ka-Ling Cheung, Kimiye Corwin, Daiva Deupree, Erin Felgar, Jennifer Ikeda, Stephen O'Reilly, Joel Perez, Michael Propster, Lee Rosen and John Sheehy
The adult writers are Robert Askins, Nora Chau, Liz Flahive, Graeme Gillis, Josh Halloway, Nick Platt, Lee Rosen, Erica Saleh, Matt Schatz and John Sheehy.

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.

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