Interviews with Paul Bettany, Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Long and Jason Biggs
Haute Event: Megan Fox, Jesse Eisenberg, John Krasinski at MONTBLANC 24-Hour Plays on Broadway
On Tuesday, November 14th, 2011 Montblanc presented the special 10th anniversary production of MONTBLANC’S THE 24 HOUR PLAYS ON BROADWAY, an annual benefit event produced by the 24 Hour Company and Freestyle Picture Company for Urban Arts Partnership in New York City. Some of Hollywood’s biggest talents joined forces to participate in an exciting stream of live performance: writing, directing, and performing six original short plays – all in just a whooping 24 hours! Stars who participated in this exciting event included: Megan Fox, Jessie Eisenberg, Tracy Morgan, Sarah Silverman, John Krasinski, Justin Bartha, Lake Bell, Jack McBrayer, Jason Biggs, Justin Long, Amber Tamblyn, Billy Crudup, Carla Gugino, David Cross, Diane Neal, Gabourey Sidibe, Greta Gerwig, Kathy Najimy, Laura Bell Bundy, Michael Kenneth Williams, Rosie Perez, Rutina Wesley, and more.
This year’s production featured a special 10th anniversary theme to celebrate the immense success of this partnership and the thousands of students who have benefited from programs made possible by this fundraiser. Since the first annual production in 2001, MONTBLANC’S THE 24 HOUR PLAYS ON BROADWAY benefit has been a driving force in helping Urban Arts Partnership grow from a $400K to a 4 million dollar organization, from serving 8 to 60 schools and from serving 2,000 to 12,000 students.
The creative process began at 10PM on Sunday, November 13th, when the cast and crew gathered at the American Airlines Theater for orientation. After casts and crews have been briefed, each writer spent the night composing a ten-minute play. The following morning, directors returned to read and select their piece and the cast rehearsed throughout the day to prepare for the 8:00 PM performance for a live audience on Broadway. Following the show, stars partied the night away at Montblanc’s star-studded after-party at B.B King Blues Club.
Actors in Search of a Play: 24 Hour Play on Broadway Brings Bigshots to the Big City
There was an atmosphere reminiscent of the first day of summer camp late Sunday evening as the actors began to arrive at the American Airlines Theater. The stars introduced themselves, often times with a reserved awkwardness. “Hi, I’m Jesse,” Jesse Eisenberg said, introducing himself to Megan Fox. “Hi,” she responded.
It was orientation for the 24 Hour Plays, a charitable performance benefiting the Urban Arts Partnership. Over the course of that night and the next day, six individual plays would be written, cast, rehearsed and performed in front of a live audience. Several of the actors were noticeably nervous.
After an enthusiastic introduction by the North American CEO of Montblanc, which underwrote (pun intended) the evening, the actors were asked to introduce themselves, place a prop or costume in the middle of the room, describe a special talent and explain something they had always wanted to do on stage.
Some of the talent clearly put considerable thought into their prop and costume. Lake Bell brought a bag of shredded money (apparently un-ironically), and David Cross produced a mistranslated Parisian T-shirt reading “Keep Hustling, Get Your Chalupas Right!” Sarah Silverman proffered a flask (unfilled, it seemed). Justin Bartha added a motorcycle helmet to the growing pile.
Others had clearly procured their props en route to orientation. Jason Biggs admitted to stealing the robe from his hotel room for his costume, while John Krasinski produced several “I Heart NY” T’s, and other related tourist paraphernalia.
Ms. Fox brought a Bop It, which she described, “for those who were born before ’86,” as an interactive version of the game Simon. Her talent? “I can dance but I’d rather not do that,” she told the group before settling into her seat.
Mr. Eisenberg, who brought a plush giraffe which makes soothing noises as his prop, expressed his theatrical aspirations. “I’ve never gotten a haircut on stage. Or given one,” he said as the group chuckled dutifully.
Other actors offered bizarre and irrelevant tidbits, some of which should have probably been left unsaid. “I’ve never farted on stage,” Justin Long proclaimed. After presenting a negligee as her costume, Gabourey Sidibe announced her talent: “I spoke like a baby on purpose until I was 16, and sometimes that’s useful,” she said.
After introductions, the actors left to sleep for a few brief hours while the writers stayed up all night composing their ten-minute plays. Sometime around midnight on Sunday, the playwrights drafted the actors for their productions and chose props and costumes to write into their scripts.
The Transom returned to the theater the following evening to see the fruits of their labors. Six hilarious pieces were performed, complete with sound and lighting effects. Tracy Morgan, who had skipped orientation the previous evening, made brief and characteristically riotous appearances in three of the performances. Another no-show from the night before, Paul Bettany, played the role of a slightly deranged British aristocrat with a penchant for chewing bills from Ms. Bell’s bag o’ shredded cash.
After the performances, the actors packed up their backpacks (no really, at least half of them carried backpacks) and joined the crew for a well-deserved after party next door.
Fun fact: Jesse Eisenberg's girlfriend, Anna, is the Special Events Director at Urban Arts Partnership.
24 Hour Plays, With Cheyenne Jackson, Gabourey Sidibe, Jesse Eisenberg, Presented Nov. 14
The writers include Pulitzer Prize winners David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole, Good People, Shrek), Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife, Grey Gardens), Lynn Nottage (Ruined, By the Way Meet Vera Stark), as well as Tony Award winner Terrence McNally (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Master Class, Ragtime), Emmy winner Rachel Axler ("The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," "Parks and Recreation"), actress-songwriter Laura Bell Bundy (Legally Blonde, Hairspray) and musician Andy Davis ("Let the Woman").
Actors involved include Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu, Finian's Rainbow, "30 Rock"), Academy Award nominee Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious"), Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg ("The Social Network," Asuncion), Megan Fox ("Jennifer's Body"), Rosie Perez ("Fearless," Frankie and Johnny), Jack McBrayer ("30 Rock"), Amber Tamblyn ("Joan of Arcadia"), Tony winner Billy Crudup (Coast of Utopia), Carla Gugino (Desire Under the Elms, "Watchmen"), David Cross ("The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret"), Diane Neal ("Law & Order: SVU"), Greta Gerwig ("Greenberg"), Jason Biggs ("American Pie"), Jason Sudeikis ("SNL"), John Krasinski ("The Office"), Julia Stiles ("Dexter," Oleanna), Justin Bartha (Asuncion, "The Hangover"), Kathy Najimy ("Hocus Pocus," "King of the Hill"), Lake Bell ("No Strings Attached," "How to Make it in America"), Nia Vardalos ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding"), Nick Swardson ("30 Minutes or Less"), Rachel Dratch ("SNL"), Sarah Silverman ("The Sarah Silverman Program"), Tracy Morgan ("30 Rock") and Woody Harrelson ("The Messenger," "The People Vs. Larry Flynt").
Participating directors are Derek Cianfrance ("Blue Valentine"), Donmar Warehouse artistic director Josie Rourke, Inge Center artistic director Peter Ellenstein and Tony nominee Thomas Kail (In the Heights).
The event benefits Urban Arts Partnership, a non-profit organization that advances the intellectual, social and artistic development of underserved public school students through arts-integrated education programs to close the achievement gap.
Perez, who is the board chair of Urban Arts Partnership, issued the following statement: "It's hard to believe that it’s the 10th anniversary of The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway! I haven't missed a single show, not only because there is no experience quite like it but more importantly because since its inception this event has helped grow Urban Arts Partnership into the organization it is today serving sixty schools across New York City reaching thousands of students. Montblanc's support over the past 5 years has taken the event to a new level, affording our students unparalleled opportunities to be involved in Master Classes, 24 Hour Plays in the Schools and the Young Writers Program."
Here's how the annual event works. The process begins at 10 PM on Nov. 13, when the entire team of actors, playwrights, directors and production staff gather at the American Airlines Theatre. Each cast member shares a costume, a prop, their special skills and "stage desires" to their respective writers. The playwrights must then create a ten-minute play by 7 AM the following day in order to allow the directors and cast time to rehearse the piece for the public presentation that evening.
Source + a Slideshow of Pictures!
Laura Bell Bundy
with musician Andy Davis
Sarah Silverman, Justin Long, and Jason Biggs
Patricia McGregor, Paul Bettany, Jack McBrayer, Megan Fox, Sarah Silverman, and Tracy Morgan
Rosie Perez, Amber Tamblyn, John Krasinski, Victor Rasuk, Michael Kenneth Williams (bio teacher on Community!), Phillip Courtney, and David Cross
Eddie K Thomas, Victor Rasuk and Bryan Greenberg
David Lindsay Abaire, Lynn Nottage and Doug Wright
John Krasinski, Tracy Morgan, Diane Neal, Rosie Perez, and Rachel Dratch (I wonder what actors were grouped together in the other plays...)
Stolen from Tumblr :P because the watermarks blocked everyone
I couldn't find standalone pictures of Cheyenne Jackson, Greta Gerwig, Nia Vardalos, or Julia Stiles, but they're *apparently* in the group pictures on stage. As for Woody Harrelson and Nick Swardson, I'm thinking they were no-shows. Jason Sudeikis, according to Getty Images, was at another event on November 14th, but is supposedly in the group picture as well, so... IDK. I think Getty made a mistake because I don't see any of those people listed above.
Did anyone get to see this?
ETA: Repping something completely different in this post, but Community is gonna be on any minute, and if you have Twitter, tweet #sixseasonsandamovie and or #savecommunity !