Theatre folk who will be in attendance for the 11 AM groundbreaking include Tony nominee Oliver Platt (Shining City), Peter Dinklage (Richard III), Sonia Manzano (Godspell) and Lili Taylor (Landscape of the Body). The event will also feature performances from the children involved in the 52nd Street Project.
Willie Reale founded the 52nd Street Project in 1981 to improve the quality of life for New York's inner-city children who live in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. Through programs and partnerships with theatre professionals, the 52nd Street Project reaches out to local children by creating theatrical projects tailored to their experiences.
The new home for the non-profit marks the Project's first official permanent residence. The 17,000-square foot space, located on 10th Avenue between 52nd and 53rd streets, will include its own theatre. The site will also provide space for rehearsals, after-school mentoring programs and workshops on theatre technology.
Among the professionals who have shared their talents with the 52nd Street Project are Fred Armisen, Mia Barron, John Conlee, Billy Crudup, Angel Desai, Edie Falco, Jessica Hecht, Frances McDormand, Cynthia Nixon, James Naughton, Sarah Ramirez, Jon Stewart, Mary Louise Wilson, Sam Waterston and Frank Wood.
The mission of the 52nd Street Project states, "The Project is not about teaching children to act, although they will learn to. It is not about teaching them to write plays, although they will learn that as well. What it is about is giving a kid an experience of success. It is about giving a kid an opportunity to prove that he or she has something of value to offer, something that comes from within that he or she alone possesses, something that cannot be taken away." For more information visit www.52project.org.