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This special benefit performance is available for online viewing as an encore. The program includes the play and the talkback discussion that took place at the live viewing on October 10, 2020. When you purchase your ticket to this benefit performance, you will be emailed the access code within four hours of purchase.

Frontlines: Stories from the Edge

Showcasing real narratives and concerns that plague our nation and the world.

They are painfully familiar. These issues are humanized by their presence on stage.

The pandemic, Covid-19, George Floyd, racial equality, social justice reform, and politically charged environments the world over. We are in difficult and dangerous times. This pain, suffering, and isolation has created a society where anxiety, depression, mental illness, and desperation are front and center in our everyday lives.

Our Topic – Suicide Prevention
Our Play – Right Before I Go.
Our Goal – To open minds and effect change

These are our stories...

Biographies

STAN ZIMMERMAN (Playwright) has been nominated for two WGA Awards for his work on “The Golden Girls” and “Roseanne”. He’s also written and produced on “Gilmore Girls” and co-created the Lifetime sitcom, “Rita Rocks” and the Emmy nominated webseries, “Secs & Execs”. In film, he wrote both Brady Bunch movies. Zimmerman directs and produces theatre in LA, including such productions as the LatinX The Diary of Anne Frank, Heartbreak Help, Pledge, Warm Cheese, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, BLINK and You Might Miss Me, Gemini. He also directed three plays he co-wrote – Yes Virginia, Knife to the Heart, and Meet & Greet. Stan appeared on Broadway with Nureyev & the Joffrey Ballet. He was the Host/Showrunner on Sean Hayes’ Bravo reality show “Situation: Comedy”. Stan teaches acting and has a BFA-Drama NYU/Circle-in-the-Square. He’s producing and directing a "Wendy Weekend”, three Wasserstein virtual play readings in rep on Playbill.com Oct 16-18 to commemorate her 70th birthday. www.zimmermanstan.com

MICHAEL WILSON (Director) has developed and directed Right Before I Go with playwright Stan Zimmerman and producer Erin Craig since 2017. On Broadway, he directed Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful (starring TONY Award Best Actress Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams), Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (with a new virtual "staging" of the play starring Vanessa Williams live streaming on Oct 14), and the TONY nominated Best Plays Enchanted April and Dividing the Estate. He received Drama Desk and Outer Critics' Circle Awards for his direction of The Orphans’ Home Cycle, produced by Signature Theatre and Hartford Stage, where he was Artistic Director from 1998 to 2011. He has developed and directed premieres by Eve Ensler, Marcus Gardley, Rebecca Gilman, John Guare, Beth Henley, and Chris Shinn, among others. His screen directing debut, Lifetime/Ostar's The Trip to Bountiful starring Blair Underwood and Vanessa Williams, garnered Emmy and DGA Award nominations for Best Television Film. Current projects include Bryan Batt's new play Dear Mr. Williams, Daisy Foote and Steve Earle's new musical Tender Mercies, a new radio production of his popular Christmas Carol adaptation for Ford's Theatre.

CHERYL WIESENFELD (Curator/Producer) Throughout Cheryl’s career she has been in the communication field as an editor, writer, photographer, and producer. She started her career as a magazine editor at Popular Photography Magazine and then at Forbes Magazine. In between, she co-edited two books of photography “Women See Woman” and “Women See Men”. Following her career in publishing, she became a producer of large scale industrial events for corporations. Flexing her creative muscle, she produced shows that combined art, theatre, dance and ideas working with such luminaries as Andy Warhol, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Robin Williams, Bill Irwin, and Pilobolus. Cheryl began her theatre producing career in 1998. Broadway: The Great Society, Ain’t Too Proud, The Heidi Chronicles, All The Way, Rocky, Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, A Steady Rain, Legally Blonde, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, ‘night Mother, Caroline or Change, Elaine Stritch At Liberty, and Hedda Gabler. Off-Broadway: 10th Anniversary Exonerated, Play Dead, In The Continuum, Shockheaded Peter, Talking Heads, The Exonerated, The Waverly Gallery. Film: Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me.

La Vie Productions LLC / R Erin Craig (Producer) develop, mentor and produce new artists and works through their work as Producer, General Manager, Executive Producer, Production Manager and Consultant for Theatre, Film, Music and Special Events for the past 25 years. Current projects: "Austen's Pride", "Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting", "Academy", "Right Before I Go", “Into The Wild”, "Beatsville", “Victory Train”. Select past projects: “In The Heights”, “High Fidelity”, “The Velocity of Autumn, “The Evolution of Mann”, “Christmas In Hell”, "Himself and Nora", "Stalking the Bogeyman", “The Jazz Age”, "Irena's Vow", “Merrilee Mannerly”, "How We Got Away With It", "Easter Mysteries". Member - Broadway League, Off-Broadway League, TRU. Educator and Mentor. Houses on the Moon Theater Company, Board Member. www.LaVieProductions.com

Cast

VANESSA WILLIAMS is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in the entertainment industry today.

Having sold millions of records worldwide, Vanessa has also achieved numerous #1 and Top 10 hits on various Billboard Album and Singles charts: Pop, Dance, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Holiday, Latin, Gospel and Jazz.

Her critically acclaimed work in film, television, recordings and the Broadway stage has been recognized by every major industry award affiliate including 4 Emmy nominations, 11 Grammy nominations, a Tony nomination, 3 SAG award nominations, 7 NAACP Image Awards and 3 Satellite Awards. Her platinum single "Colors of the Wind," from the Disney’s Pocahontas, won the Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

A graduate of Syracuse University, Vanessa is a strong advocate for equal rights, especially concerning the LGBTQ+ community and minorities. She was honored with the Human Rights Campaign “Ally for Equality” Award for her humanitarian contributions. Vanessa also achieved a career pinnacle with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.

Vanessa’s autobiography, “You Have No Idea,” co-written with her mother Helen Williams, was a New York Times Best Seller in 2012. Her recent Broadway credits include co-starring with Cicely Tyson in The Trip to Bountiful, (the #1 play of the 2013 season), After Midnight (2014), and a special limited engagement in Hey, Look Me Over at New York City Center in 2018. Vanessa was recently in previews for Josie Rourke’s City of Angels in London’s West End, when production was suddenly forced to pause due to COVID 19.

Vanessa is one of the world’s most accomplished concert artists, appearing regularly with the most prestigious symphony orchestras in the world, most recently with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center.

Vanessa is the mother of four - Melanie, Jillian, Devin and Sasha. Her charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing and supporting such organizations as Black Theatre United, Special Olympics, Broadway Cares and Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation.

BLAIR UNDERWOOD

On screen Underwood was most recently seen co-starring in the Netflix limited series, Self-Made, opposite Octavia Spencer. His performance earned a Black Reel Award earlier in August. While audiences were streaming that performance Underwood was onstage, starring on Broadway opposite David Allen Grier in the Roundabout Theatre revival of A Soldier’s Play at the American Airlines Theater. His performance garnered accolades and was recently nominated for a Drama League Distinguished Performance Award.

In 2019 Underwood recurred on the Netflix comedy series, Dear White People, and in Clark Johnson's Juanita, opposite Alfred Woodard, also for Netflix. He spent two years as a series regular on the ABC drama series, Quantico, while also recurring on another hit ABC drama, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He also had a co-starring role in The After Party, from writer/director Ian Edelman, which Netflix released late in 2018. He can be seen co-starring in Justin Simien’s horror comedy, Bad Hair, which will premiere on Hulu in October 2020.

Past television credits include series regular roles on Dirty Sexy Money, The New Adventures of Old Christine, In Treatment, L.A. Law and The Event. Film credits include Rules of Engagement, Madea's Family Reunion and Full Frontal, for director Steven Soderbergh. Underwood co-starred opposite Cicely Tyson in the Lifetime telefilm, A Trip To Bountiful, based on the Tony Award-winning play. In 2012 he made his acclaimed Broadway debut in the iconic role of "Stanley" in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, for which he earned a Drama League Distinguished Performance Award nomination.

HARI NEF

Named by Interview Magazine as one of five breakout actors at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Hari Nef stars in Sam Levinson’s ASSASSINATION NATION which premiered in the Midnight section and was shortly thereafter picked up by distributors Neon and AGBO.

Hari could also be seen in Greg Berlanti's series YOU in which she plays the role of ‘Blythe,’ but is probably best known for her recurring role as ‘Gittel’ in Amazon’s award-winning TRANSPARENT and as the face of the Gucci scent “Bloom.”

WILSON CRUZ is known for playing Rickie Vasquez on My So-Called Life, Angel in the Broadway tour production of Rent, the recurring characters Junito on Noah's Arc and Dr. Hugh Culber on Star Trek: Discovery. As an openly gay man of Afro-Puerto Rican ancestry, he has served as an advocate for gay youth, especially gay youth of color.

Cruz went to Hollywood to seek work as an actor, intending to be open about his sexuality from the beginning of his career. In 1994 he was cast as Enrique "Rickie" Vasquez, a troubled, gay teen, in the short-lived, critically acclaimed cult classic TV series My So-Called Life. This made Cruz the first openly gay actor to play an openly gay character in a leading role in an American television series.

Cruz's other acting credits include the films Joyride (1996), All Over Me (1997), Supernova (2000), Party Monster (2003), Margaret Cho's Bam Bam and Celeste (2005), Coffee Date (2007), and He's Just Not That Into You (2009); the television film The Perfect Pitch (2002); and guest appearances on the series Great Scott!, Sister, Sister, ER, Ally McBeal, The West Wing, Noah's Arc, and Grey's Anatomy. Cruz starred as Adrian in the film The Ode (2007), based on the novel Ode to Lata by Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla.

Post-show panel:

DR. ANDREW GERBER is a child and adolescent psychiatrist whose career combines his work as a clinician, scholar, research scientist and executive. He completed his medical and psychiatric training at Harvard Medical School, Cambridge Hospital and Weill Cornell and Columbia medical schools; he completed his PhD in psychology at University College London and the Anna Freud Centre.

Prior to joining Silver Hill, Dr. Gerber was Director of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Program at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia Medical Center and Medical Director and CEO of the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Among his many affiliations, he serves as associate clinical professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and as associate clinical professor at the Child Study Center, Yale University.

MICHAEL GROAT, MSc., PhD serves as the Chief Clinical Officer of Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, CT, and connects to the epidemic of suicide in two primary ways. The first is over 18 years of experience in working with people facing suicidal despair. Michael has participated in clinical and research efforts to better assess suicidal risk, as well as create interventions to offer hope. He oversaw suicide prevention efforts at the Menninger Clinic in Houston in his role as director of the division of adult services and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine. Michael’s second connection is personal. Michael lost his brother, a career military person, to suicide in 2018. He knows of the devastating impact suicide has on friends, families and communities, and the complicated healing process. He speaks from the integration of these two roles, that of brother, and, clinician.

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Theatre Fairfield: Director’s Cut

Friday | 8 p.m.
Saturday | 8 p.m.
Sunday | 2 p.m.

December 4, 5, 6 2020

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