15th Annual 24 Hour Plays After Party
The 15th Annual 24 Hour Plays: On Broadway, featuring Taran Killam, Edie Falco, Rosie Perez and Molly Ringwald, was presented Nov. 16 at 8 PM at Broadway’s American Airlines Theatre.
The annual event draws distinguished artists from throughout the entertainment industry who join forces in an extreme theatre endeavor: writing, directing and performing six original short plays from the ground up in 24 hours, Nov. 15-16, with performances on the 16th. Proceeds from the performance support New York’s Urban Arts Partnership in its efforts to close the achievement gap in NYC’s underserved public schools.
The marathon began at 10 PM Nov. 15. Each actor shared a costume piece and a prop, and revealed a special skill and something they’ve always wanted to do onstage, after which each writer was tasked with composing a ten-minute play by 6 AM this morning. Directors return at 9 AM to meet with their cast for the first time. Less than 12 hours later, the plays debut in front of a live audience at 8 PM.
Julia Stiles to perform for charity that creates a Broadway play in 24 hours
Live theatre is stressful for any actor, so just imagine how crazy it can be if you’ve been handed a script only a few hours before having to go onstage.
That’s what’s facing about two dozen brave stars on Monday night at the 15th annual benefit “The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway,” which asks actors, writers and directors to come up with six original short plays over the course of a day.
“The biggest lesson is to have fun and not take yourself too seriously,” said Jason Biggs, the “American Pie” star. “You’re going to look like a fool — that’s the point.”
Biggs will be joined by performers Sasha Alexander, Geoffrey Arend, Lorraine Bracco, Tony Danza, Edie Falco, Ashley Fink, Ari Graynor, Kesha, John Krasinski, David Krumholtz, Margarita Levieva, Adrienne Moore, Diane Neal, Rosie Perez, Phylicia Rashad, Molly Ringwald, Julia Stiles, Amber Tamblyn, Tracie Thoms and Vanessa Williams.
Saturday Night Live will be well represented by Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah and Cecily Strong and Rachel Dratch — a nod to that show’s ability to nurture people fast on their feet.
Biggs and Stiles are repeat offenders at “The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway” and call it a highlight every year, even though there’s plenty of sweat and stress getting ready.
“There’s a weird addiction to it where you keep wanting to come back to it every year even if you were panicking leading up to a performance,” said Stiles. “There’s something so great about seeing how much can get done in 24 hours.”
Biggs agrees: “At some point during the day before the performance, we’re like, ‘Why do we do this? Why are we here? Why do we agree to keep coming back? It’s like a monkey touching the electric fence.”
Directors this year are Andy Fickman, Thomas Kail, Leigh Kilton Smith, Patricia McGregor, Kathy Najimi and Eduardo Ponti. The writers include David Lindsay-Abaire, Rachel Axler, David Cross, Dael Orlandersmith and Jonathan Marc Sherman.
The whole thing works this way: The playwrights will gather at 10 p.m. on Sunday and will write a short play by 7 a.m. the next morning. As one might guess, they can get very silly indeed.
The celebrity actors — who, to help the process, have brought in a prop and a costume, as well as reveal a skill and a secret desire — are cast and then rehearse the work for the next 12 hours.
“The actors have it tough,” said Biggs. “But at least we’ve gotten some sleep the night before. These writers are there all night long, under the gun, trying to come up with funny jokes and characters at 4 o’clock in the morning. I’d much rather be the actor in this scenario.”
Then, at 8 p.m. on Monday, the plays will be performed for a live audience of over 1,000 people at the American Airlines Theatre. The one-night-only show benefits the Urban Arts Partnership, an organization that brings arts education into New York City classrooms.
“There’s no way to prepare for it, really. The only thing you can do is try to get a good night’s sleep,” Stiles said.
As for what prop she will bring, Stiles is leaning toward bringing along something that is cluttering up her home.
“I’ve been thinking about something I want to get rid of because oftentimes you forget to pick it after the show,” she said, laughing.
New Promos for Pheonix
The creative team is now set for the off-Broadway production of Scott Organ’s Phoenix, starring the previously announced Julia Stiles and James Wirt.
The production, helmed by Jennifer DeLia, will feature set design by Caite Hevner Kemp, costumes by Amit Gajwani, lighting design by Oona Curley, sound design by Janie Bullard and scenic art by Burton Machen.
When Bruce (Wirt) and Sue (Stiles) meet four weeks after an uncharacteristic one-night-stand, Sue has this to say to him: one, I had a great time with you that night and two, let’s never see each other again. Thus begins a 4,000 mile journey well beyond the confines of their carefully structured worlds. Bruce is fueled by an overwhelming but undefined compulsion to join her in Phoenix. Sue is reluctantly charmed by his persistence, but steadfast in her resolve to keep him at bay.
Phoenix will play a limited engagement through August 23. Opening night for the one-act dark romantic comedy is set for August 7.
Julia Stiles Returns to New York Stage in Phoenix
Julia Stiles will return to the New York stage for the first time in five years, starring off-Broadway in director Jennifer DeLia’s production of Scott Organ’s dark romantic comedy Phoenix.
Co-starring with Stiles in the two-hander is James Wirt, who is also slated to appear with the actress in DeLia’s upcoming film The First, with Lily Rabe, Michael Pitt, Billy Magnussen andLouisa Krause.
In Phoenix, Stiles and Wirt play a mismatched couple who meet again four weeks after a one-night stand. She had a good time but prefers to close the door on the possibility of a future relationship with him, while he feels compelled to follow her 4,000 miles to the title destination.
The one-act play was previously presented in New York in 2010. This fresh take starts previews July 28 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, with an official opening night set for Aug. 7. The limited engagement is scheduled to run through Aug. 23.
Stiles’ last New York stage appearance was opposite Bill Pullman in the 2009 Broadway revival ofDavid Mamet’s Oleanna. Her previous off-Broadway roles have included Fran’s Bed by James Lapine in 2005, starring Mia Farrow; and the 2002 Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night, with Zach Braff, Jimmy Smits and Oliver Platt.
A film adaptation of Phoenix is in development, with Amy Redford attached to direct.
Producers on the off-Broadway run are Julie Pacino, Poverty Row Entertainment, Rian Patrick Durham and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
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