Opening Act, which for more than a decade has provided free after-school theater programming to New York City’s most under-served public high schools, announced today that Jasmine Cephas Jones (Hamilton), Zazie Beetz (Atlanta), and Tom Pelphrey (Iron Fist), have joined the cast of Opening Act’s 11th Annual Benefit Play Reading “A Night of YES!” at New World Stages on April 25th, 2017.
Previously announced cast members Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Christopher Jackson (Hamilton), and Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) will headline the night of performance and song. Tony Award-winner Kenny Leon (HAIRSPRAY LIVE!, A Raisin in the Sun) also returns to direct scenes from works by renowned playwrights Katori Hall (The Mountaintop) and Ike Holter (Exit Strategy).
Additional cast members include Dominique Fishback (The Deuce), Heather Alicia Simms (A Raisin in the Sun), Melle Powers (Chapelle’s Show), Marcus Denard Johnson (A Tale of Two Cities The Musical), Malia Braithwaite (Opening Act Alum), and Caleb Grandoit (Opening Act Alumi).
“At this time, when so many of the issues Opening Act’s work addresses – social justice, education, the arts, equity – are gaining urgency, this year’s Play Reading is especially critical,” said Suzy Myers Jackson, Executive Director of Opening Act. “We’re always blown away by the caliber of talent that participates in this event and this year is no exception.”
Tickets are on sale now at www.openingact.org/tickets. In addition to celebrity and student performances, the event will include a raffle for tickets to Hamilton: An American Musical. The winner will have a choice of two house seats and an exclusive backstage tour of the Broadway, Chicago, or California productions.
Opening Act’s past Play Reading actors and Artistic Advisory Board Members include Aja Naomi King, Kristen Bell, Anika Noni Rose, Joshua Jackson, Cynthia Nixon , John Slattery, Tonya Pinkins, Edie Falco, Beau Bridges, and Courtney B. Vance.
Opening Act is an innovative nonprofit that brings free, long-term theater programs to 40 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.