By Adam Hetrick
26 Oct 2011
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the one-night-only event that brings together writers, directors and actors who must conceive, write and rehearse six short plays within the span of 24-hours in time for an 8 PM public performance Nov. 14. The plays are interspersed with six musical acts. Montblanc sponsors the event.
The writers include Pulitzer Prize winners David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole, Good People, Shrek), Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife, Grey Gardens), Lynn Nottage (Ruined, By the Way Meet Vera Stark), as well as Tony Award winner Terrence McNally (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Master Class, Ragtime), Emmy winner Rachel Axler ("The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," "Parks and Recreation"), and actress-songwriter Laura Bell Bundy (Legally Blonde, Hairspray) and musician Andy Davis ("Let the Woman").
Actors involved include Jackson (Xanadu, Finian's Rainbow, "30 Rock"), Academy Award nominee Sidibe ("Precious"), Academy Award nominee Eisenberg ("The Social Network," Asuncion), Fox ("Jennifer's Body"), Perez ("Fearless," Frankie and Johnny), McBrayer ("30 Rock"), Amber Tamblyn ("Joan of Arcadia"), Tony winner Billy Crudup (Coast of Utopia), Carla Gugino (Desire Under the Elms, "Watchmen"), David Cross ("The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret"), Diane Neal ("Law & Order: SVU"), Greta Gerwig ("Greenberg"), Jason Biggs ("American Pie"), Jason Sudeikis ("SNL"), John Krasinski ("The Office"), Julia Stiles ("Dexter," Oleanna), Justin Bartha (Asuncion, "The Hangover"), Kathy Najimy ("Hocus Pocus," "King of the Hill"), Lake Bell ("No Strings Attached," "How to Make it in America"), Nia Vardalos ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding"), Nick Swardson ("30 Minutes or Less"), Rachel Dratch ("SNL"), Sarah Silverman ("The Sarah Silverman Program"), Tracy Morgan ("30 Rock") and Woody Harrelson ("The Messenger," "The People Vs. Larry Flynt").
Participating directors are Derek Cianfrance ("Blue Valentine"), Donmar Warehouse artistic director Josie Rourke, Inge Center artistic director Peter Ellenstein and Tony nominee Thomas Kail (In the Heights).
The event benefits Urban Arts Partnership, a non-profit organization that advances the intellectual, social and artistic development of underserved public school students through arts-integrated education programs to close the achievement gap.
Perez, who is the board chair of Urban Arts Partnership, issued the following statement: "It's hard to believe that it’s the 10th anniversary of The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway! I haven't missed a single show, not only because there is no experience quite like it but more importantly because since its inception this event has helped grow Urban Arts Partnership into the organization it is today serving sixty schools across New York City reaching thousands of students. Montblanc's support over the past 5 years has taken the event to a new level, affording our students unparalleled opportunities to be involved in Master Classes, 24 Hour Plays in the Schools and the Young Writers Program."
Here's how the annual event works. The process begins at 10 PM on Nov. 13, when the entire team of actors, playwrights, directors and production staff gather at the American Airlines Theatre. Each cast member shares a costume, a prop, their special skills and "stage desires" to their respective writers. The playwrights must then create a ten-minute play by 7 AM the following day in order to allow the directors and cast time to rehearse the piece for the public presentation that evening.
The American Airlines Theatre is located at 227 West 42nd Street. Tickets are available by visiting Smarttix or by phoning (212) 868-4444.