Legit event mixed thesps, scribes in hasty creative process | 24 HOUR PLAYS | HOLLYWOOD
24 Hours Later: Seth Green, looks away as Adam Goldberg pontificates to Adam Nelson, center, at Deep nightclub after-party.
By LISA D. HOROWITZ
HOLLYWOOD -- With his playlet closing "The 24-Hour Plays" at the Henry Fonda Theater, Bruce Vilanch seemed a bit stunned as the lights came up.
Perhaps, as he said, it was just amazement at seeing it staged for the first time. More likely, he was kicking himself for having been the only one of the six scribes to take the 10-minute rule seriously.
Six 10-minute plays. With a 15-minute intermission. Yet somehow, including starting half an hour late, the evening ended up running three hours. Obviously, someone cheated.
The title "24-Hour Plays" wasn't meant to imply the length of the evening, though it came close. Instead, it explains the gimmick of the fundraiser, which raised $20,000 (in ticket sales) for the World Trade Center Relief Fund.
As producer Tina Fallon explained, the playwrights and actors gathered on the evening of Feb. 23 and split up into groups. The scribes then retired to write, drawing on both props and tales offered by their stars. They returned to the Fonda at 7:30 a.m. Feb. 24 to rehearse until 5 p.m., when the tech rehearsals started; they wrapped 10 minutes before the supposed 8 p.m. curtain time.
Playwrights were Beth Henley, Hilly Hicks, John Belluso, Alexandra Cunningham, Neil LaBute and Vilanch. Belluso was the only one of the six to include Sept. 11 as part of his play.
Playwright Belluso featured Seth Green, Jared Harris, Gina Phillips and Adam Nelson in his 24 Hour Play.
LaBute offered his usual shtick, oddly repulsive stories of decadent human behavior, with the added twist that his four actors -- Clark Gregg, Devon Gummersall, Portia de Rossi and Brooke Smith -- purported to tell "true" stories based on their own histories, but assigned to a different person than the one whose story it was.
Also, they claimed one of the four was made up. But, of course, the joke was on the audience: See, they're actors, and it's their job to lie to us -- all four were fake! Big surprise.
Thank goodness for the reliably humorous Vilanch. In his "It Only Happens When I'm Nervous," John Ritter played an actor hoping to audition for "Urinetown," the title of which he could hardly bring himself to utter.
Instead, he found himself up for "Puppetry of the Penis," demonstrating his talent to Sarah Silverman as a lustful stage manager and Ann Magnuson as a rather peculiar producer.
VARIETY & WORKHOUSE PUBLICITY BAND TOGETHER TO AID | WORKING PLAYGROUND AND THE CHILDREN OF NYCNEW YORK - Variety and Workhouse (www.workhousepr) produced a special celebrity performance of the 24 Hour Plays to aid Working Playground in their efforts to help the children of New York cope with the tragic events of September 11th. The benefit was performed before a sold-out audience which included Robert DeNiro, Kevin Bacon, Bobby Zarem and Bart Freundlich. The 24 Hour Play performers included Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rosie Perez, Benjamin Bratt, Billy Crudup, Mary-Louise Parker, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei, Adam Nelson, Kyra Sedgwick, Lili Taylor, Natasha Lyonne, Scarlett Johansson, Liev Schreiber, Robert Sean Leonard, Drena DeNiro, Catherine Kellner, Brendan Sexton, Jared Harris, Sam Rockwell and Fisher Stevens who appeared in six short plays, each written less than a day before the curtain raised. Under the direction of Gregory Mosher, Seth Rosenfeld, Anna Strasberg, Tom Gilroy, Itamar Kubovy, Pippin Parker, six plays written by Frank Pugliese, Warren Leight, Richard LaGravenese, Tamara Jenkins, Nicole Burdette and Chris Shinn debuted and closed in New York on Monday, September 24th, 2001 at the Minetta Lane Theater. The 24 Hour Plays were followed by an exclusive after-party at the nightclub Spa made possible by the generous support of Variety, Benihana & Haru restaurants, Grey Goose Vodka, Plymouth Gin, Illy Caffe of North America, BMG Entertainment, FIJI Natural Artesian Water, Original Sin Cider and Neibaum-Coppola Estate Winery.
DETAILS MAGAZINE & WORKHOUSE PUBLICITY AID | NY STATE WORLD TRADE CENTER RELIEF FUND
LOS ANGELES - Details Magazine and Ebel USA in association with Workhouse Publicity produced yet another edition of the 24 Hour Plays to aid The NY State WTC Relief Fund. Performed before a sold-out audience which included William H Macy, Ted Danson, Jennifer Grey, Joel Grey, Carla Gugino (Spy Kids), Breckin Meyer (Road Trip), Johnathon Schaeck (Hush), Mary Keller (Emeril), Dylan Bruno (Saving Private Ryan), Beth Littleford (Spin City) and Amy Yasbeck (Pretty Woman). The Los Angeles production of the 24 Hour Plays included performances by Jane Adams (The Anniversary Party), Christina Applegate (Married with Children), Jennifer Coolidge (Best In Show), Portia Di Rossi (Ally McBeal), Seth Green (Austin Powers), Adam Goldberg (Beautiful Mind), Clark Gregg (State and Maine), Paul Guilfoyle (CSI), Devon Gummersall (Relativity), Jared Harris (I Shot Andy Warhol), Jeffrey Jones (Ferris Buelers Day Off), Mila Kunis (That 70's Show), Ann Magnuson (Making Mr. Right), Adam Nelson (Dogs), Gina Phillips (Jeepers Creepers), John Ritter (Three's Company), Sarah Silverman (Gary Shandling Show), Ione Skye (Say Anything), Brooke Smith (Series 7) and Adam Tomei (The Truman Show) who appeared in six short plays, each written less than a day before the curtain raised. Under the direction of Morgan J Freeman, David Lee Strasberg, Neil Pepe, Tom Quaintance and Mike Uppendahl, six plays written by Beth Henley, Neil Labute, Bruce Vilanch, Hilly Hicks, Alexandra Cunningham and John Belluso debuted and closed in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 24th, 2002 at the Henry Fonda Theater followed by an exclusive cast party at the nightclub Deep.