“Live theater is such an integral part of American history,” said AEA President Nick Wyman. “It is a portal to our past, a mirror to our present, and a crystal ball to our future. In countless ways, the professionals who join with audiences nationwide to create each singular live stage experience have contributed to and influenced our culture and lives significantly over the past century. Our goal with this ambitious and exciting yearlong celebration is to elevate the American public’s respect for the craft of acting and stage management and nurture a greater appreciation for the power and impact of live professional theater.”
More than 100 AEA members have already lent their support to the anniversary initiatives by joining the 100 for 100 Honorary Committee, including celebrated union members such as Ellen Burstyn, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, Hugh Jackman, Nathan Lane, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Matthew Morrison, David Hyde Pierce, Bernadette Peters, Parker Posey, Daniel Radcliffe, Phylicia Rashad, Lea Salonga and many more.
The apex of this yearlong series of events will be the Centennial Celebration Event to be held at a major live entertainment venue in New York City in April, 2013. This star-studded, red carpet event will include history-making theatrical moments combining the heart of 100 years of iconic stage roles
featuring some of America’s most celebrated, influential and beloved actors with a taste of what’s to come in the next century, showcasing the theater’s most promising up and coming talent. The Centennial Celebration will include a variety of celebrity emcees and presenters as well as video tributes showcasing 100 years of live American theater. More details on the Centennial Celebration Event will be announced soon.
To officially kick off the yearlong Centennial Celebration, a special event on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 will be held in New York’s Times Square – one of the world’s most renowned centers of theatrical life.
“Actors’ Equity celebrates the art of live theater and with this yearlong celebration we honor the thousands of stage actors and stage managers that have committed their professional lives to sharing their craft with audiences across the country over the last 100 years,” said AEA Executive Director Mary McColl. “It takes tremendous dedication, collaboration and devotion to create live theatre and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to say thank you.”
“Actors’ Equity’s centennial celebration is a testament to the rich tradition of live theatre in our City and to the talented performers and stage managers who call New York City home,” said New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “Live theatre is an integral part of our local economy, drawing New Yorkers and tourists from around the globe to our theatres every day, making the City the world’s ultimate stage.”
Throughout the coming year, the following exciting initiatives, among others, will be proudly sponsored to celebrate American theater in support of the Centennial:
--KICKOFF EVENT - Filling the square for the 8:30am event on June 5th will be theater professionals of every stripe—actors, stage managers, ensemble players, leads, international and local celebrities plus adoring fans. There will be live performances, interviews with theater “royalty” and other entertainment in a salute to the extraordinary role of live theater in the fabric of American life and culture. The location for this event is also just blocks away from where history was made in 1913 as the rank-and-file of stage actors and stage managers asserted their working rights and established the union that would protect their interests and ensure their health and welfare.
--BEHIND THE CURTAIN – Behind The Curtain is a unique travelling exhibit built specifically for the Centennial and designed by world renowned architectural firm HWKN. It is a 53 foot cargo transport trailer that is converted into a state of the art travelling museum that’s main goal is to create widespread public awareness of theater and its benefits to American culture. The exhibit will include interactive, multimedia components allowing patrons to engage with a hands-on timeline, see clips of favorite shows throughout the years as well as access select artifacts that span the last 100 years.
-- “PERFORMANCE OF THE CENTURY: 100 YEARS OF ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION AND THE RISE OF PROFESSIONAL AMERICAN THEATRE” will be published by Applause Books in September, 2012. The book, written by Robert Simonson, will include an extensive history of AEA highlighting some of the most treasured performers and performances from the last century.
--ROUND TABLE SERIES
A series of interactive discussions offering behind-the-scenes insights from celebrated theater professionals will be scheduled in a variety of cities across the country to be announced soon. This series will offer an informal setting for high profile stage actors to contribute their personal perspectives on the experience of live theater. Theater students and enthusiasts in each of these cities will be invited to attend and participate in a Q&A with members.
The Narrative Project, an online, multimedia personal history of live theater through the eyes of its members and supporters, is currently available online. It includes an oral history of members’ remembrances, anecdotal recollections and even mementos such as a member’s first headshot, cast photos and other images. Theater professionals and enthusiasts are encouraged to visit and share a personal memory. All those interested in participating can visit www.facebook.com/AEA100 and “like” the page to share a memory.
With these initiatives and others to come, this once in a lifetime, yearlong celebration will continue to foster awareness of the importance of professional legitimate theater in the cultural, social and economic life of the country. By promoting the study, improvement and advancements of the theater arts, AEA sets the stage for the next hundred years of talented American theater professionals.
For more information and to stay updated on all Centennial events,
please visit www.Facebook.com/AEA100
100 for 100 COMMITEEE MEMBERS
Andre De Shields
Anika Noni Rose
Brian Stokes Mitchell
Catherine Zeta Jones
David Hyde Pierce
Harry Connick, Jr.
James Earl Jones
John Lloyd Young
Mark Linn Baker
Neil Patrick Harris
Norbert Leo Butz
Robert Sean Leonard
S. Epatha Merkerson
Samuel L. Jackson
William H. Macy