Opening Act, an innovative nonprofit that provides free after-school theater programming to New York City’s most under-served public high schools, has announced that Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun) will helm Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine for Opening Act’s 9th Annual Benefit Play Reading at New World Stages on April 21st, 2015.

Leon, who has long supported and advocated for arts in education, said, “When the stars align with a great playwright, children, and education, I’m there.”

Headlining the event are actors Anika Noni Rose (Tony Award-winner, Caroline, or Change), Tonya Pinkins (Tony Award-winner, star of Caroline, or Change), Wood Harris (The Wire), Lorraine Toussaint (Orange is the New Black), Patina Miller (Tony Award-winner, Pippin), Anthony Chisholm (Tony Award-nominee, Radio Golf), David Zayas (Dexter), and Michael Mastro (West Side Story). The event was cast by Emmy Award-winner Alexa Fogel (The Wire).

“We are thrilled to be working with such great talents – from Kenny to Lynn to our incredible cast – to bring attention to the need for impactful theater programming for New York City teens,” said Suzy Myers Jackson, Executive Director of Opening Act. “Our programs give students an opportunity to have their voices heard and celebrated, often for the first time, and our impact goes far beyond artistic achievement; our students tell us over and over again they wouldn’t have graduated high school if it weren’t for Opening Act. This event is critical to our ability to make those stories continue to happen in our city.”

The annual event is supported by Opening Act’s Artistic Advisory Board, which includes actors Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Kristen Bell (Frozen), Andrew McCarthy (Pretty in Pink), Jean Smart (Designing Women), and Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live).

In addition to student and celebrity performances, this year’s event will include a post-show reception with a 3-Course Chef’s Tasting Menu for VIP ticketholders at limited Chef’s Tables, sponsored by Naturally Delicious and Dark Horse Wines.

Reports have shown that instruction in the arts is positively correlated with higher student grades and rates of college enrollment. However, in low-income areas like the South Bronx and central Brooklyn there exists a severe arts shortage. In fact, more than 42 percent of schools without a full-time, state-certified arts teacher are located in those areas. Opening Act strives to fill this void by providing their programming free of charge to these schools. Over ninety percent of Opening Act’s programs are located in the South Bronx and Brooklyn.

Opening Act is an innovative nonprofit that brings free, long-term theater programs to 32 of New York City’s most under-served public high schools. Through theater, Opening Act students gain confidence, pride, and the knowledge that they can succeed at anything in life. Opening Act’s vision is to see that every New York City public school student has access to an artistic space where they can develop commitment, community, and leadership through their artistic achievement. Please visit www.openingact.org to learn more.

9th Annual Play Reading of Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine to benefit Opening Act will take place on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, at 6:30 P.M. New World Stages is located at 340 W. 50th Street in Manhattan.

Tickets are:
$225 Event Ticket (Performance, Pre-Show Reception with Open Wine Bar and Hors d’oeuvres, Post-Show Champagne and Dessert);

$550 VIP Ticket (all perks of Event Ticket, plus priority seating for performance & access to VIP Post-Show Reception with 3-Course Chef’s Tasting Menu – includes a Rising Star Sponsorship to support one student in Opening Act’s Adopt a School Program)

For tickets – www.telecharge.com or 1 800-447-7400

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