The mission of Cause Célèbre is to utilize dramatic works to bring attention and understanding to various psychological, physical and social issues. Each month a different issue will be the focus of programming for Cause Célèbre. All ticket proceeds from the events will go directly to the charities involved.
The first program, scheduled for Dec. 9, benefits the National Meningitis Association.
The evening will focus on parent-child relationships and the disease itself, incorporating scenes from Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, featuring Miller's sister Joan Copeland; and Tennessee Williams' Steps Must Be Gentle, featuring Marian Seldes; as well as a new work by Susan Charlotte and Mel Brooks, Of Fathers and Sons, featuring Bob Dishy and Judy Graubart. Singer KT Sullivan will also be on hand to perform.
Nick Springer, who underwent partial amputation of all four limbs after contracting Meningococcal Meningitis, will be in attendance for the first evening. Springer is now a college student, U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby athlete, and a member of the Together Educating About Meningitis (T.E.A.M.) program, which was created by the National Meningitis Association. Members of the National Meningitis Association will join Springer for the post-performance discussion.
Scheduled to take part in the Jan. 30, 2008, Cause Célèbre benefit for St. Jude's Hospital are Marlo Thomas, Rue McClanahan and Elizabeth Wilson. The February performance, featuring Danny Aiello, will benefit Heartshare's Frances Aiellos Day Treatment Center. On March 18, Christine Ebersole and Mercedes Ruehl will perform in a new work centering on the Fortune Society and prison reform. A tribute to late songstress Kitty Carlisle Hart is also in the works – the event will benefit the Glaucoma Foundation and a leading New York museum. Matthew Modine has also signed on to perform in support of pancreatic cancer, and Joan Copeland will again appear to support cerebral palsy. Among the celebrities who have also signed on to raise awareness of worthy causes are Tyne Daly, Richard Easton, Tommy Tune and Christopher Hart and Dr. Catherine Hart (children of Moss and Kitty Hart).
Marian Seldes, Joan Copeland and June Springer serve as board of directors for Cause Célèbre, with generous support from writer Ellen Violett.
Show time for Cause Célèbre is 6:30 PM; performances and discussions will be followed by a reception. All proceeds from the $100 ticket price will go to the associated charitable organizations. Reservations can be made by phoning (212) 362-2560.
The Players is located at 16 Gramercy Park South.