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Wong, Waterston, Manzano & More Set For Symphony Space's ALL WRITE! Benefit 2/8

Wong, Waterston, Manzano & More Set For Symphony Space's ALL WRITE! Benefit 2/8

For nearly two decades, Symphony Space has offered the innovative All Write! literacy program absolutely free of charge to adult students throughout the five boroughs. On Monday, February 8 at 7:30 P.M. Symphony Space will celebrate its adult literacy program with a benefit event featuring Sonia Manzano, S. Epatha Merkerson, Isaiah Sheffer, Sam Waterston and B.D. Wong, with musical guests Ivy Austin, Jay Leonhardt and Lanny Meyers (casting subject to change).

The stars of "Law & Order" will read the literacy students' stories and poems about arriving in and surviving in New York City, with a couple of Stephen Sondheim songs on the subject providing some musical spice. Ivy Austin sings Sondheim's lyric "another hundred people just got off of the train" and the ensemble reads the arrival thoughts of sixteen Queens Public Library students from Sierra Leone, Ecuador, Mexico, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Yemen and the Dominican Republic. Sonia Manzano joins Austin singing "America" from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story," hilariously contrasting life in Puerto Rico with living in Manhattan, and we hear a piece about "Late Saturday Night" action written by a student of the New York Public Library's Aguilar Language Learning Center, underscored by piano and bass salsa rhythms!

All Write!, modeled on Symphony Space's popular Selected Shorts program, emphasizes that literacy is not only about learning to read but also about discovering and reflecting on the world around us. After attending a special Selected Shorts performance, students are invited to submit their own stories and poems. Many of them are chosen to be read from the Symphony Space stage at the end of the semester by a stellar cast. Symphony Space prints and distributes a booklet of the works to all students and many teachers use them as teaching tools in future classes.
About 40% of All Write! students are learning English as a second language. Whether native born or immigrant, All Write! enables all students to experience the power of self-expression using their new-found literacy skills.

For over 30 years, Symphony Space has been producing and presenting artistically and culturally diverse music, dance, literary, theatre, family, and film programs that bring artists and audiences together in an atmosphere of exploration and intimacy. Its signature events include Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story, hosted by Isaiah Sheffer and nationally broadcast on public radio; Bloomsday on Broadway; and Wall to Wall music events and other marathons.

Symphony Space's Artistic Director is Isaiah Sheffer and the Executive Director is Cynthia Elliott.

Monday, February 8 at 7:30 P.M.
Symphony Space 2537 Broadway at 95th street
$250 Patron: Premium seat, reception and listing in the program
$125 Sponsor: Premium seat for performance only
All other seats are $50

Symphony Space 2537 Broadway at 95th street

A limited number of Patron tickets are available, which include a private reception with the artists after the program hosted by Susan Beckerman, Julie Engerran and Elizabeth Richebourg Rea ($125). Sponsor seats are $250.

Proceeds will benefit Symphony Space's All Write! adult literacy program, serving hundreds students city-wide, and other educational programs.

Photo credit: Linda Lenzi

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