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Kathleen Chalfant, Donna Murphy, Tonya Pinkins and More Join Epic Theatre Ensemble's Artist Advisory Council


Kathleen Chalfant, Donna Murphy, Tonya Pinkins and More Join Epic Theatre Ensemble's Artist Advisory Council

Epic Theatre Ensemble has announced the creation of an Artist Advisory Council (AAC) to further its goal of empowering young people by connecting them to professional theatre-makers.

Epic is an Off-Broadway producing and arts-education nonprofit organization. Over 16 years, Epic's mentorship initiatives have reached over 30,000 students in under-resourced Title I high schools across NYC, over 85% of whom are eligible for free lunch.

The Artist Advisory Council is made up of a select group of professional actors and members of the theatrical community. Recognized and handpicked by Epic's Co-Founders for their commitment to social justice and their understanding of the critical role the arts play in education and youth development, each member has demonstrated a desire to reinforce and advance

Epic's mission of transforming audiences and students from passive bystanders into active participants, forging a more inclusive and collaborative vision of America. Over twenty professionals have been named to the council representing actors, producers, directors, and industry leaders. The Co-Founders of Epic (Melissa Friedman, Ron Russell, and James Wallert) are honored to have these critically acclaimed individuals stand alongside them in their efforts to develop a socially-minded society where theatre fosters awareness of current civic issues that affect under-represented communities.

Council Members will work directly with the young people Epic serves in special workshops throughout the year at Epic's new space within the Theatre Row complex on 42nd Street, mentoring students in theatrical skill development. They will also act in an Advisory role to steer Epic's leadership toward new opportunities for these young people to engage in professional theatre, both as audiences and as emerging creators.

As of October 2017, notable additions to the Council include:

- Tony Award nominee and Two-time Obie Award winner, Kathleen Chalfant
- Two-time Tony Award and Emmy Award winner, Donna Murphy
- Academy Award winner and Tony Award nominee, Estelle Parsons
- Tony and Obie Award winner, Tonya Pinkins
- Critically Acclaimed Actress (This Is Us), Susan Kelechi Watson

The current list of luminaries is as follows: Michelle Beck; Eric Booth; Kathleen Chalfant; Dominic Colon; Sanjit DeSilva; Peter Jay Fernandez; Devin Haqq; Rhett Henckel; Ty Jones; Aaron Krohn; Anthony Vaughn Merchant; Donna Murphy; Chris Myers; Estelle Parsons; Tonya Pinkins; Ruffin Prentiss; Lisa Rothe; Aubrey Saverino; Godfrey L. Simmons Jr.; David Strathairn; and Susan Kelechi Watson.

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Epic Theatre Ensemble is a 501(c)3 organization whose artists are dedicated to making bold theatrical work on professional stages and in public schools that inspires dialogue about social, ethical, and political issues. Since our founding on 9/11/01, we've commissioned and developed 37 new works of socially-minded theatre, including internationally-known work like Nilaja Sun's NO CHILD... (and recently, her new solo work PIKE ST., which just won many accolades at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017), Judith Thompson's PALACE OF THE END, and Kate Fodor's HANNAH AND MARTIN. We've received two OBIEs, in addition to Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics and OTTO Awards, and our education programs have been recognized nationally, including the 2009 Coming Up Taller Award from the White House for Shakespeare REMIX. Over 130,000 audience members have seen an Epic production, including 30,000+ high school students and 10,000 adult first-time theatergoers.

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