Morgan Freeman, Laurie Metcalf, John Malkovich, Zachary Quinto, Vanessa Williams, David Alan Grier, Elizabeth Ashley, Matthew Broderick, Lucas Hedges and Paul Mescal are among the actors who’ll take part in a benefit series of new, livestreamed stage reading productions of works by such major playwrights as Gore Vidal, David Mamet, Kenneth Lonergan and Donald Margulies.
Producer Jeffrey Richards announced the new line-up of the weekly Spotlight On Plays, a web series at the recently launched Broadway’s Best Shows website. Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to The Actor’s Fund, with the livestreamed events available for a strictly limited amount of time.
Productions are all-new and performed remotely, with directors including Mamet, Phylicia Rashad and Daniel Sullivan given leeway in how to present their shows. (Watch a trailer for the series above.)
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The series, which follows last May’s production of Love Letters with Bryan Cranston and Sally Field, will run from Oct 14 – December 10, with a new show premiering weekly. Tickets are sold at a “Pay What You Can” rate starting at $5.
First up is Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, directed by Michael Wilson and featuring an all-star ensemble headed by Freeman, Broderick, Malkovich, Quinto, and Phylicia Rashad. (See below for the complete line-up of performers and plays.)
Next is Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth, starring Hedges, Normal People‘s Mescal and The Meyerowitz Stories’ Grace Van Patten. Lila Neugebauer directs.
Week #3 brings David Mamet’s Race, with David Alan Grier and Richard Thomas returning from the original Broadway 2009 cast. Also starring will be Ed O’Neill and Alicia Stith, with Phylicia Rashad directing.
Mamet’s Boston Marriage follows the next week, with the playwright directing Patti LuPone, Rebecca Pidgeon and Sophia Macy.
Next up is Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, adapted by Neil LaBute, headed up by Alan Cumming, Constance Wu and Ellen Burstyn. Directed by Danya Taymor.
The series continues with Donald Margulies’ Time Stands Still, with Daniel Sullivan directing a reunion of the original 2010 Broadway cast: Eric Bogosian, Brian d’Arcy James, Laura Linney, Alicia Silverstone.
The final show in the series is Robert O’Hara’s Barbecue, headed up by Metcalf, David Morse, S. Epatha Merkerson, Carrie Coon and Colman Domingo, with Robert O’Hara directing.
The Spotlight on Plays series is created and Executive Produced by Jeffrey Richards and Produced by Patty Baker/Good Productions, Rebecca Gold, Jayne Baron Sherman, Iris Smith with Jim Glaub and Jacob Soroken Porter. Select productions in the series are also produced by Ken Greiner, Louise L. Gund, Terry Schnuck, Ted Snowdon and The Shubert Organization.
Here’s the complete line-up. All performances begin at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT.
Gore Vidal’s THE BEST MAN
October 14, 2020
Starring in Alphabetical Order Elizabeth Ashley, Reed Birney, Matthew Broderick, Katie Finneran, Morgan Freeman, Julie Halston, Stacy Keach, Robert Krulwich, John Malkovich, Zachary Quinto, Phylicia Rashad, Robert Sella, Lee Wilkof, Vanessa Williams, Whitney Winfield with Sean Close, Travoye Joyner, Jered McLenigan, TJ Wagner. Directed by Michael Wilson.
Kenneth Lonergan’s THIS IS OUR YOUTH
October 20, 2020
Starring Lucas Hedges, Paul Mescal, Grace Van Patten. Directed by Lila Neugebauer.
David Mamet’s RACE
October 29, 2020
Starring David Alan Grier, Ed O’Neill, Alicia Stith, and Richard Thomas. Directed by Phylicia Rashad.
David Mamet’s BOSTON MARRIAGE
November 12, 2020
Starring Patti LuPone, Rebecca Pidgeon, Sophia Macy. Directed by David Mamet.
Anton Chekhov’s UNCLE VANYA
November 19, 2020
Starring Alan Cumming, Samira Wiley, Constance Wu, Ellen Burstyn, Manik Choksi, K. Todd Freeman, Mia Katigbak, Anson Mount. Narrated by Gabriel Ebert. Directed by Danya Taymor. Adapted by Neil LaBute.
Donald Margulies’ TIME STANDS STILL
December 3, 2020
Starring the Original Broadway Cast: Eric Bogosian, Brian d’Arcy James, Laura Linney, Alicia Silverstone. Directed by Daniel Sullivan
Robert O’Hara’s BARBECUE
December 10, 2020
Starring Carrie Coon, Colman Domingo, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Annie McNamara, S. Epatha Merkerson, Laurie Metcalf, David Morse, Kristine Nielsen, Tamberla Perry, Heather Simms. Directed by Robert O’Hara.