1st Annual Cynthia Stafford's 'Gifted Day at the Geffen' Set for 6/15


Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Geffen Playhouse Board Member, Cynthia Stafford, will host the 1st Annual Cynthia Stafford's "Gifted Day at the Geffen" at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, June 15th at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, Calif. Stafford is teaming up with Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, an initiative of the Mayor's Office, and the Geffen Playhouse to host 250 students for a day of theater education.

Students from Hollenbeck Middle School, Carver Middle School, Markham Middle School, Stevenson Middle School and Gompers Middle School in Los Angeles, will view the play Superior Donuts, written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts and directed by Geffen Playhouse Artistic Director Randall Arney.

"Everyone deserves the opportunity to experience the theater and I wanted to introduce students to a world they may not know much about," said Stafford. "This day will honor LA students for their hard work in school and, hopefully, add to their already existing drive."

Prior to the event, students will be led through a workshop which will help them to write a one page autobiographical story following the theme - "I was...now I am." Their story will focus on a significant event in their life that changed the way they see the world, themselves or their community. Stafford and the Geffen Playhouse's education department will read and write responses to all submitted stories, some of which may be read from the stage as part of the day's program. Students will also have the opportunity to speak to the cast members and director Randall Arney during a post-show discussion.

Celebrities attending include "Greek" stars Jacob Zachar and Gregory Michael, "Witches of Waverly Place" star Jennifer Stone, "Twilight Saga" star Justin Chon, and John Marshall Jones of Nickelodeon's "The Troop." Students will be given snacks by Laura's Wholesome Junk Food, a lunch provided by California Pizza Kitchen and treats by Sweet e's Bakery. Students will also receive gift bags featuring contents provided by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sweet e's Bakery, Pottery Barn, Got Party, Paper Goose and Imperial Toys.

The event will take place from 9:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

About Cynthia Stafford
Cynthia Stafford focuses her efforts on empowerment in both education, particularly in children with special needs and women's rights, with a global agenda of ventures and causes she endows and capitalizes. While raising her deceased brother's children, Stafford won the California Lottery on Mother's Day in 2007. Ms. Stafford is one of the top philanthropists in Los Angeles. Stafford is also special liaison to the Geffen Playhouse's Education Advisory Board and is actively involved in a program which introduces children to the arts. Ms. Stafford has contributed and is involved in a number of charities, including the NRDC, Joan Rivers' charity God's Love We Deliver, and UNICEF. Stafford was recently selected by the Lifetime Network as one of its prestigious "Remarkable Women," alongside Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Maria Shriver.

About the Partnership
The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools was founded in 2007 as the cornerstone of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's strategy to improve education in Los Angeles. It is a unique collaboration between the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District to turn around LA's lowest performing schools and to create a model for doing so district wide. The largest non-district school operator in Los Angeles, the Partnership today manages 21 schools with approximately 22,000 students and 1,500 employees. The Partnership is a 501(c) 3 non-profit education management organization with nearly 30 employees.

About the Geffen Playhouse
The Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and musicals, the Geffen Playhouse continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company is helmed by Producing Director and President of the Board Gilbert Cates, Artistic Director Randall Arney, Managing Director Ken Novice and Chairman of the Board Frank Mancuso. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen Playhouse welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year, and maintains an extensive education and outreach program, designed to engage young people and the community at large in the arts. For more information, please visit geffenplayhouse.com.

About Superior Donuts
Superior Donuts, written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts and directed by Geffen Playhouse Artistic Director Randall Arney, is the humorous tale of an unlikely friendship set in a sweets shop in one of Chicago's most diverse neighborhoods. Arthur Przybyszewski's Superior Donuts has been a community hub for decades, and both the neglected storefront and its rundown owner are evidence to that. But when Franco, a young fast-talking dreamer, bounds into the shop, the writing is on the wall that things are going to change - maybe even for the better.

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