World Science Fest Lures Naughton, Alda, Close for June 10 Gala; Smith Solo Show Planned

News   World Science Fest Lures Naughton, Alda, Close for June 10 Gala; Smith Solo Show Planned Theatre, music, dance and film stars will celebrate the opening night of the 2009 World Science Festival on June 10 at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. Festival events — including science-related panels, lectures and a performance by Pulitzer Prize finalist Anna Deavere Smith — run June 10-14 throughout New York City.
Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith

The benefit opening gala 7-10:30 PM June 10 will include Harrison Ford, Alan Alda, Glenn Close, musician Joshua Bell, two-time Tony Award winner James Naughton, South Pacific star Danny Burstein, award-winning actress-writer Anna Deavere Smith, The Inspirational Voices of The Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir, and students of the National Dance Institute.

The World Science Festival's mission is "to cultivate and sustain a general public informed by the content of science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future."

The June 10 gala will include the New York premiere of a 30-minute adaptation of the original one-hour multi-media performance, Life: A Journey Through Time, "a moving and majestic concert piece, specially adapted for the World Science Festival, setting the lyrical imagery of National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting to an original score by the renowned composer Philip Glass, and performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke's under the baton of acclaimed conductor Marin Alsop."

The gala is produced in collaboration with Lincoln Center and directed by Damian Woetzel, recently retired star of the New York City Ballet.

The 2009 Opening Night Celebration benefit "provides essential funding for the annual World Science Festival's programs and operations." On June 11, playwright-performer Anna Deavere Smith will perform Watching Wilson and Watson (8-9:30 PM, at New York University's Skirball Center) as one of many programs in the five-day World Science Festival. According to WSF notes, "Smith uses her signature approach, melding journalism and performance, to create novel and insightful one-woman vignettes depicting two of the most important and influential scientists of our day, Nobel Laureate and co-discoverer of DNA, James Watson, and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and 'father of biodiversity and sociobiology,' E.O Wilson."

The 2009 festival celebrates the 80th birthday of E.O. Wilson, "America's preeminent naturalist and a founding father of the environmental movement."

Smith is the Tony Award and Pulitzer-nominated actress and playwright who created Fires in the Mirrror, Let Me Down Easy and Twilight.

To purchase tickets for the benefit, download ticket order form, complete and return to MF Productions via fax at (212) 243-1020 or contact MF Productions at (212) 243-1020, or by email at wsfgala@mfproductions.com.

To support the World Science Festival, contact Marie Gentile at (212) 348-1400, or donate online.

For more information, visit worldsciencefestival.com.