Celia Keenan-Bolger, Rebecca Luker and More to Star in The Actors Fund OUR TOWN Benefit, 3/4


The Actors Fund will present a one night only benefit reading of the American classic Our Town on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 7:30 p .m. at The Gerald R. Lynch Theatre at John Jay College (524 West 59th Street). Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the play's Broadway opening, the proceeds from this event will benefit the programs and services of The Actors Fund.

Our Town stars Tony Award nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger (Peter and the Starcatcher) as Emily Webb, three-time Tony nominee Rebecca Luker (Mary Poppins, The Music Man) as Mrs. Webb and Tony Award winner Adriane Lenox (Doubt, Chicago) as Mrs. Gibbs. Additional casting will be announced soon. The evening, directed by Peter Flynn (Chess and On the 20th Century for The Actors Fund), will also feature multiple actors in the central role of the Stage Manager.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning drama of life in the small village of Grover's Corners, an allegorical representation of all life, has become an undisputed stage classic. Our Town is Thornton Wilder's most renown and most frequently performed play.

Described by Edward Albee as "...the greatest American play ever written," Our Town won the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Tappan Wilder, nephew and literary executor of the playwright stated, ""My uncle loved actors--he was an actor himself, you know--and he was mighty proud to have written a popular large-cast play that provided his fellows with so many jobs! What a great pleasure it is to partner with the Actor's Fund, which Thornton Wilder supported throughout his life, on the occasion of a major milestone in the history of his most famous work."

Tickets for the one night only benefit are $75, $100, and $150. Sponsorships are available for $1,500 and $5,000, which include passes to the VIP party after the benefit with cast. Tickets can be purchased at: www.actorsfund.org or by phone at (212) 221-7300 x133 or Email: tickets@actorsfund.org.

Thornton Wilder (Playwright). Born in Madison, Wisconsin, and educated at Oberlin, Yale (B.A. 1920) and Princeton (M.A. 1925), Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works, exploring the connection between The Commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience, continue to be read and produced around the world. Wilder is the only writer to win Pulitzer Prizes for both fiction and drama-for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927) and two plays, Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1942). His other novels include The Cabala, The Woman of Andros, Heaven's My Destination, The Ides of March, The Eighth Day and Theophilus North. His other major dramas include The Matchmaker (adapted as the musical Hello, Dolly!) and The Alcestiad. The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden and The Long Christmas Dinner are among his celebrated shorter plays. Wilder also enjoyed success as an essayist, translator, research scholar, teacher, lecturer, actor, librettist and screenwriter. His screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943) remains a classic psycho-thriller to this day. Wilder's many honors include the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Book Committee's Medal for Literature, The Order of Merit (Peru), and the Goethe-Plakette (Germany). In 1930, with royalties received from The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Wilder built a home for himself and his family in Hamden, CT. Although often away from it as many as 250 days a year, restlessly seeking quiet places in which to write, Thornton Wilder always returned to "the house the Bridge built". He died of a heart attack on December 7, 1975.

Peter Flynn (Director) spent four years as the Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre where his credits include Full Gallop with Dee Hoty, Lend Me a Tenor with Michael McCormick and Tony nominee Emily Skinner, the world premiere of Tim Pinckney's Ever So Humble starring Andréa Burns, Dirty Blonde starring Emily Skinner, David Mamet's November starring Broadway veteran Wally Dunn, Penelope of Ithaca with local luminary Susannah Berryman, and Man of La Mancha starring Richard Adams & Natascia Diaz. Recent credits include Guys & Dolls starring Andréa Burns, Shine! starring Hangar alum Bill Ryall, and Barrio Grrrl! for the Kennedy Center. Broadway credits: Actors Fund concerts of On the 20th Century, Chess withJosh Groban, and Funny Girl with Whoopi Goldberg. Off-Broadway credits: Lee Blessing's Two Rooms at Lion Theatre; Henry & Mudge, and Junie B. Jones, nominated for Lucille Lortel Award - Best Musical, and Rhapsody in Seth at Actors' Playhouse starring Seth Rudetsky. As a writer, commission: Huntington Theatre with writing partner, composer/lyricist Brooks Ashmanskas. Graduate: Northwestern University.

The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone - performers and those behind the scenes - who works in performing arts and entertainment, helping more than 12,000 people directly each year, and hundreds of thousands online. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio and dance, The Fund's programs include social services and emergency assistance, health care and insurance, housing, and employment and training services. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Actors Fund has - for nearly 130 years - been a safety net for those in need, crisis or transition.

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