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Olivier Winner Chukwudi Iwuji Set for Shrunken Shakespeare Benefit, 6/8


Shrunken Shakespeare Company (Yvonne Cone and Jennifer Martina, Co-Producing Artistic Directors) and Creative Producer Adam Shulman (Dukes of Hazard: The Beginning, Song One starring Anne Hathaway) to host SSC's Annual Benefit Gala and Staged Reading of Chukwudi Iwuji's masterpiece screenplay Ira - on June 8th, 2015 at The Loft at West 83rd Street (150 West 83rd Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus).

Iwuji (Olivier Award Winning Henry VI Trilogy at the Royal Shakespeare Company, TFANA's Tamburlaine, NYSF's King Lear) will star as Ira Aldridge and Danya Taymor (Theatre for a New Audience, The Public, The Flea) directs. Full casting is to be announced, though the evening already has the advantage of such talents as Tony Award Nominee Condola Rashad (Trip to Bountiful, Stick Fly, Romeo and Juliet), Lorraine Toussaint (Academy Award Nominated Film Selma, Orange is the New Black), James Waterston (Dead Poet's Society), Michael Rudko (The Audience with Helen Mirren), Abby Wilde (Nickelodeon's Zoey 101, iCarly), Sean Patrick Riley (As The World Turns, Blue Bloods), Tyler Hollinger (The Public Theatre, The Mint), Ryan Duncan (Broadway's Shrek), Tom O'Keefe (Bedlam, TFANA's Tamburlaine), Yvonne Cone (Paul Sorvino's King Lear), Jennifer Martina (Paul Sorvino's King Lear), Danielle Davenport (TFANA's An Octoroon). Stay tuned to SSC's social media sites for exclusive video interviews and articles with Ira author Chukwudi Iwuji.

Ira is an intimate portrait of the life and career of Ira Aldridge, one of the first African Americans to grace the London stage. In his quest for opportunities in the West End, Ira falls in love with Margaret, an English abolitionist. In the face of racial and social adversity, their bond will be stretched to its limits in this story of love, social strife, and the journey to becoming a legend.

Ticket holders will be welcomed by a step-and-repeat beginning at 6:45pm before enjoying the exclusive staged reading presentation followed by a talkback with the cast. A cocktail reception will cap the evening sponsored by several local caterers. VIP ticket holders can enjoy a coffee hour preceding the reading at 6:00pm and reserved seating.

Tickets for SSC's 2015 Fundraiser Gala are $100 each for general seating, and $125 for VIP, and can be purchased through SSC's website at or by emailing All proceeds will go towards SSC's 2015-2016 season, including the development of their education program.

Shrunken Shakespeare Company is known for its inventive take on classical plays, including its recent Lear, adapted by, directed by, and starring Paul Sorvino; SSC's contemporary adaptation and translation of Chekhov's Three Sisters aptly titled What We Know; The Two Gentlemen of Verona set in a dive bar and A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Hipster Circus.

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