Film Version of Stephen Karam’s Speech & Debate Will Debut in NYC at AMC’s Empire 25

Film & TV News   Film Version of Stephen Karam’s Speech & Debate Will Debut in NYC at AMC’s Empire 25
A portion of the proceeds from NYC showings will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
<i>Speech and Debate</i>
Speech and Debate

Sycamore Pictures announced March 16 that the film version of Tony winner Stephen Karam's 2007 breakthrough play, Speech & Debate, will make its theatrical release April 7 in New York City at AMC’s Empire 25.

Presented in partnership with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the producers will donate 25 percent of the funds from the theatrical showings in New York to the charitable organization.

“This movie is a love letter to musical theater nerds of all ages,” said producer Tom Rice in a statement. “We are honored to share this exciting moment with such an important cause as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.” The film also arrives in additional select theatres, on iTunes, and VOD April 7.

Produced by Rice and directed by Dan Harris, the comedy stars Liam James, Sarah Steele, Austin P. McKenzie, Roger Bart, Janeane Garofalo, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kal Penn, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Skylar Astin with special appearances by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Darren Criss as well as an original song performed by Kristin Chenoweth.

Speech & Debate, according to press notes, “follows three teenagers brought together by a series of mishaps. Frustrated by the hypocrisy they see in their parents, teachers, and the entire school board, the unlikely trio set out to find a common truth and make their voices heard as they revive a defunct school club and take on the world. Blogging, blackmail, and Broadway belting drive the trio’s bond in this outrageous comedy.“

Steele (The Good Wife) returns to the big screen as Diwata, a role she originated Off-Broadway. James (The Way, Way Back) and McKenzie (Spring Awakening) star as her unlikely friends, Solomon and Howie, respectively.

Fresh off his Tony Award for The Humans, playwright Karam adapts his first comedy, Speech & Debate, for the screen. Three of Karam’s acclaimed plays, including Speech & Debate, Sons of the Prophet, and The Humans, premiered at New York City’s Roundabout Theatre Company and continued on to success around the country. Karam is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Sycamore Pictures is partnering with Vertical Entertainment to distribute the film.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $285 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.


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