On Oct. 16, Cornerstone Theatre Company will present the First Annual Bridge Awards and a benefit reading, 15 Snapshots of 15 Years, celebrating the company's widely -acclaimed body of work nationwide since 1986. The event will take place from 6.30-8.30 PM at the El Portal Center for the Arts in NoHo.
The event will be hosted by Amy Brenneman, Emmy-nominated star of "Judging Amy," who's quoted as saying, "I'm proud to be able to share stories from our history of building bridges between and within diverse communities in our home city of Los Angeles and across the nation. Our work is unique, often including professionals and first-time participants together in collaborations which create great theatre. The process transforms lives."
Also scheduled to entertain are Bill Pullman ("Independence Day"), Annie Potts ("Any Day Now"), Dan Butler ("Frasier"), Kelly McGillis ("Top Gun"), JoBeth Williams ("Wyatt Earp"), Kathy Baker ("Picket Fences"), Amy Hill ("All American Girl"), Jillian Armenante ("Judging Amy"), Paris Barclay (Producer, "City of Angels"), Father Greg Boyle (community activist), Donal Logue ("Tao of Steve"), Jessica Tuck ("Judging Amy") and Herbert Siguenza of Culture Clash.
The benefit show will also include scenes and songs from the company's community and ensemble productions. The cast will read works originally performed in venues from a Kansas schoolhouse, to a warehouse in Watts, to the Mall in Washington, DC, and a scene from the upcoming For Here or To Go? at the Mark Taper Forum.
Artistic director Bill Rauch said, "We are honored to present the First Annual Bridge Awards to Ron Temple and The Escobar Family, who are some of our most dedicated and aspiring collaborators." Temple played Orgon in Cornerstone's 1987 production of Tartoof, or An Imposter in Norcatur -- and at Christmas! in the farming town of Norcatur, Kansas, population 220. He later toured the country with Cornerstone in The Winter's Tale: An Interstate Adventure. He went on to found the Norcatur Arts & Humanities, which later inspired four neighboring towns to found their own community-based theatres. The Escobar Family, all five members, were first involved with Cornerstone during the Watts residency, and have continued to work with the company during the past five years.
El Portal Center for the Arts is located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd. For tickets and information call (213) 613-1700, ext. 33.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent