Carol Kane, Grace Gummer, Christine Lahti, Bull Pullman and More Announced For Animus Theatre Company's 12-Hour Festival

Animus Theatre Company (Jonathan Judge-Russo, Founding Artistic Director), an artist-driven company whose mission is to explore and illuminate the resilience of the human spirit, is thrilled to announce that their annual 12-Hour Reading Festival will return once again to Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre on Thursday, July 19, beginning at 11:00am. Having previously presented two successful 12-Hour Reading Festivals, the company is excited to announce that this year's festival will showcase the repertoire of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley (Crimes of the Heart).

"Animus presents our 12-Hour Festival to provide theatergoers the opportunity to experience one of the earliest and least-accessible parts of theatrical production - the reading - elevated by industry-leading actors, presented on a Broadway stage with the playwright in attendance," says Founding Artistic Director Jonathan Judge-Russo. "Audiences are given a unique glimpse into the evolution of a world-class writer at a fraction of the cost of a typical Broadway show, all the while learning more about the past, present, and future of Animus Theatre Company."

For this year's festival, the company will present readings of Ms. Henley's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Crimes of the Heart, as well as The Wake of Jamey Foster, Ridiculous Fraud, The Debutante Ball, The Jacksonian, Control Freaks and Impossible Marriage. As in years past, the readings of each play will be performed by a mixture Animus company members and special guest artists. This year's company artists will include Haley Bond, Sara Canter, Alex Correia, Alice Grindling, Jonathan Judge-Russo (A Rainy Day in New York, "Law & Order: SVU"), Trevor Kluckman, Alan Langdon, Brad Lemons, Amy Northup, Liz Elise Richards, Erin Leigh Schmoyer, Courtney Shaw and Karen Sours Albisua ("The Chi," "The Bridge"). Specific casting and scheduling details for the festival will be announced at a later date.

The talented company artists will be joined by a myriad of guest artists* from stage and screen, including Nnamdi Asomugha (Hello My Name is Doris, Crown Heights), Juliet Brett (The Jacksonian, "Red Oaks"), Valorie Curry (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, "The Following"), Sami Gayle ("Blue Bloods," Candy Jar), Grace Gummer ("Mr. Robot," Frances Ha), Emmy Award-winner Carol Kane ("Taxi," "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"), Christine Lahti ("Chicago Hope," "The Blacklist"), Daniel London (Minority Report, "Manhattan"), Lauren Pritchard (Spring Awakening, "Stuck in the Middle"), Bill Pullman ("The Sinner," Torchwood"), Andrew Rothenberg ("The Walking Dead," Stranger Than Fiction), Wrenn Schmidt ("The Looming Tower," "Boardwalk Empire"), and Paul Schneider ("Parks and Rec," Straight White Men).

This year's 12-Hour Reading Festival celebrating the work of Pulitzer Prize-winner Beth Henley, will take place at The Circle in the Square Theatre (located at 235 West 50th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue) beginning at 11:00am on Thursday, July 19. All day passes for the festival, available for a suggested donation of $30 each, are available for purchase online by visiting www.animustheatre.org

Beth Henley was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Her plays have been produced internationally and translated into over ten languages. Crimes of the Heart (The Golden Theatre) and The Wake of Jamey Foster (Eugene O'Neill Theatre) were performed on Broadway. Off-Broadway productions include: The Miss Firecracker Contest, Am I Blue, The Lucky Spot, The Debutante Ball, Abundance, Impossible Marriage, and Family Week. Her play Ridiculous Fraud was produced at McCarter Theatre as well as South Coast Repertory Theatre. Ms. Henley's, The Jacksonian premiered at the Geffen Theatre in January 2012 to great acclaim. Robert Falls directed and the cast included Ed Harris, Bill Pullman, Amy Madigan and Glenne Headly. It was performed Off-Broadway at The New Group.

Studio Theatre produced the world premier of her play, LAUGH in 2015.

Ms. Henley's new play Lightening had a reading at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Playwrights Conference, summer 2018.

Beth Henley was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play for Crimes of the Heart. Other awards include: American Theatre Wing 1998 Award for Distinguished Achievement in Playwriting Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist for Crime of the Heart and Ridiculous Fraud; Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award 2000; New York Stage and Film Honoree, 2007; ATHE Career Achievement Award, 2010: Honoree William Inge Festival, 2017. Ms. Henley has the honor of serving as Theatre Arts Presidential Professor at LMU, Los Angeles. She is a member of The Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Dramatist Guild and the Academy of Arts and Science.

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