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Vanessa Redgrave to Read Joan Didion's 'Blue Nights' to Benefit BC/EFA

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Cathedral of St. John the Divine announced today that Tony Award-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave will perform a reading of Blue Nights, the evocative memoir by Joan Didion, at a special benefit performance at 8 p.m. Monday, November 17, at The Cathedral (1047 Amsterdam Ave, NYC).

"What does it cost to lose those weeks, that light, the very nights in the year preferred over all others?" Didion writes in Blue Nights. "Can you evade the dying of the brightness? Or do you evade only its warning? Where are you left if you miss the message the blue nights bring?"

Blue Nights is an account of the death of Quintana Roo Dunne, Didion's daughter with husband John Gregory Dunne. In Blue Nights, Didion shares her struggle, as a mother and a writer, to cope with this assault on her emotional and physical resources just two years after her husband passed away.

Redgrave and Didion share the horrific experience of having adult children precede them in death. Didion lost Quintana in 2005. Redgrave's daughter, Natasha Richardson, died in 2009. The actress, the author and the venue have long shared an extraordinary affinity: Richardson's first marriage took place in Didion's home; and The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is where Quintana was married, and where Quintana and John Gregory Dunne are inurned.

At Redgrave's request, the evening will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Cathedral Community Cares. Redgrave will be joined by guest artist Jimmy Owens, 2012 NEA Jazz Master and leader of Jimmy Owens Plus, on the trumpet-flugelhorn.

In a 2005 benefit for Broadway Cares at the Cathedral, Redgrave performed an adaptation of Didion's earlier memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, after its highly acclaimed run in New York and in London.

Tickets range from $40-$175 and can be purchased at stjohndivine.org or by calling 212.316.7449.

Photo courtesy Brigitte Lacombe

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