Actors Fund Reading of Our Town, With Celia Keenan-Bolger, Blythe Danner, Howard McGillin and More, Presented March 4

By Adam Hetrick
March 4, 2013

The Actors Fund's benefit reading of Thornton Wilder's landmark play Our Town, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning work, is presented March 4 at John Jay College. Celia Keenan-Bolger, Blythe Danner, Howard McGillin, B.D. Wong and more are among the stars.



Peter Flynn directs the 7:30 PM reading at the Gerald R. Lynch Theatre at John Jay College. Proceeds from the reading benefit the programs and services of The Actors Fund.

Tony winners Blythe Danner (Follies, Butterflies Are Free) and B.D. Wong (M. Butterfly, Pacific Overtures) and Tony Award nominee S. Epatha Merkerson (Come Back, Little Sheba) share the role of the Stage Manager, who guides the audience through the lives of the residents of Grover's Corners.

The cast also features Tony nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger (Peter and the Starcatcher) as Emily Webb, three-time Tony nominee Rebecca Luker (Mary Poppins, The Music Man) as Mrs. Webb, Tony Award winner Adriane Lenox (Doubt, Chicago) as Mrs. Gibbs, Martin Moran (All the Rage, Spamalot) as Simon Stimson, Julia Murney (Falling, Wicked) as Mrs. Soames, Leslie Odom, Jr. ("Smash," Leap of Faith) as George Gibbs, two-time Tony Award nominee Howard McGillin (Anything Goes, The Mystery of Edwin Drood) as Mr. Webb, Jerry Dixon (Once on This Island) as Dr. Gibbs, Wally Dunn (Gypsy, Spamalot) as Professor Willard/Joe Stoddard, Philip Hoffman (Into the Woods, A Catered Affair) as Constable Warren, Daniel Jenkins (Golden Boy, Big River) as Howie Newsome, Jose Llana (Spelling Bee, Flower Drum Song) as Sam Craig, Wolfgang Scheitinger as Wally Webb and Tyrah Skye Odoms (Annie) as Rebecca Gibbs.

Completing the cast are Will Boyajian, Brandon Contreras, Talya Groves, Chelsea D. Harrison, John-Michael Lyles, Melissa Mickens, Ade Otukoya and Cailan Rose.

The creative team includes scenic designer Ken Goldstein, lighting designer  Cory Pattak, sound designer Patrick Weaver, costume supervisor Jennifer Caprio and musical supervisor Mark Fifer.

Wilder's Our Town was most recently revived to acclaim Off-Broadway in 2009 at the Barrow Street Theatre under the direction of David Cromer. It was last revived on Broadway in 2002 at the Booth Theatre. It first premiered on Broadway Feb. 4 at the Henry Miller's Theatre.

"My uncle loved actors — he was an actor himself, you know — and he was mighty proud to have written a popular large-cast play that provided his fellows with so many jobs! What a great pleasure it is to partner with the Actor's Fund, which Thornton Wilder supported throughout his life, on the occasion of a major milestone in the history of his most famous work," said Wilder's nephew and literary executor, Tappan Wilder, in a statement.

Tickets for the benefit are $75, $100, and $150. For information and to purchase tickets, visit actorsfund.org or call (212) 221-7300, ext. 133.

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The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone — performers and those behind the scenes — who works in performing arts and entertainment, helping more than 12,800 people directly each year, and hundreds of thousands online.