Mark Wing-Davey Will Direct Benefit Performance of Tony Kushner's The Henry Box Brown Play

News   Mark Wing-Davey Will Direct Benefit Performance of Tony Kushner's The Henry Box Brown Play
Acclaimed playwright and New York University alumnus Tony Kushner will be on hand at the benefit performance of his play, The Henry Box Brown Play: Political-Historical-Doggerel-Vaudeville, which will be performed May 15 at the Fifth Floor Theatre with proceeds supporting NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' graduate acting program.

Directed by the chair of the program, Mark Wing-Davey, the benefit will begin at 5 PM and is a remount of the program's sold-out engagement last fall of the previously unproduced 1992 play.

The Henry Box Brown Play, which is set in England’s industrial north in the 1850s, is "based on the true story of a Virginian slave who found his way to freedom by shipping himself in a box delivered into the hands of Philadelphian abolitionists," according to press notes. "Brown made a career for himself touring Great Britain in a musicalized version of his story, while promoting a boycott of Southern cotton. Kushner’s play explores the repercussions of one particular performance in the Northern mill town of Todmorden, when Brown’s extraordinary entertainment excites an unpredictable outburst of political passion."

The cast will include members of the program's graduating class of 2011. Included will be songs with lyrics by Kushner and music by Wing-Davey and NYU student Matt Citron.

A post-show discussion will immediately follow the performance and feature Kushner, Wing-Davey and Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts.

Kushner is know for his Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. His play The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures made its New York premiere Off-Broadway at the Public Theater March 23. His collaboration with NYU has been the result of an ongoing relationship that began when Kushner was an MFA directing graduate of Tisch. The Fifth Floor Theatre is located at 111 Second Avenue. Tickets are $250 and can be ordered by phone at (212) 998-1921, or by e-mailing Hannah Smith at

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