Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lewis Black, John Bowman, Jim Gaffigan, Kathleen Madigan, & Jessica Williams Set for The 52nd Street Project’s Annual Gala 2016 – LAUGHING MATTERS, Kids’ Stand-up, Adults Deliver – on May 2

Comedians Lewis Black, John Bowman, Jim Gaffigan, Kathleen Madigan, & Jessica Williams are set for The 52nd Street Project’s Annual Gala 2016, LAUGHING MATTERS, Kids’ Stand-up, Adults Deliver, at the Edison Ballroom, 240 W. 47th St. (btwn Broadway and 8th) in New York on May 2, 2016.

52The gala evening this year will be serious fun with routines written by kids and performed by professional comedians. The kids are polishing their routines and sharpening their zingers for this gala performance. The evening kicks off with cocktails at 7:00pm; continues with a seated dinner at 8:00 pm and the presentation of the entertainment. It’s The 52nd Street Project’s big night to raise funds for the Project’s academic and artistic mentoring programming.

Tickets begin at $500 & $750 depending on the level of seating. Tables of ten are available for $7,500, $15,000 and $25,000. All tickets are tax-deductible except for $170 per person. For information or to make reservations, contact John Sheehy at the Project, 212/333-5252 x.16 or

The 52nd Street Project (The Project) is dedicated to the creation and production of new plays for, and often by, kids between the ages of nine and eighteen that reside in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in New York City. The Project does this through a series of unique mentoring programs that match kids with professional theater artists.

The Project was founded in 1981 by actor/playwright Willie Reale in response to a deepening need to improve the quality of life for the kids of Hell’s Kitchen. Mr. Reale used his privileges as a company member of Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) to reach out to the children of the neighborhood by creating theatrical endeavors specifically for them. This was done with the cooperation and support of EST and its across-the-street-neighbor, the Police Athletic League’s Duncan Center. In 1994, Mr. Reale was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (informally known as “the genius grant”) for creating The 52nd Street Project. The Project is an independent not-for-profit organization that creates over eighty new plays and serves over 150 children every year.

The Project is about making children proud of themselves. The Project is not about teaching children to act, although they will learn to. It is not about teaching them to write plays, although they will learn that as well. What it is about is giving a kid an experience of success. It is about giving a kid an opportunity to prove that he or she has something of value to offer, something that comes from within that he or she alone possesses, something that cannot be taken away.

Past artist/volunteers have included Billy Crudup, Edie Falco, Malcolm Gets, Spalding Gray, Dana Ivey, Susan Kim, Henry Krieger, Robert Sean Leonard, Natasha Lyonne, Roma Maffia, Jesse L. Martin, James McDaniel, Paul McCrane, Frances McDormand, James Naughton, Oliver Platt, Martha Plimpton, Theresa Rebeck, Jose Rivera, Lili Taylor, Pam Tyson, Wendy Wasserstein, Frank Wood and hundreds of others. Many return regularly, as they find the experience fulfilling and artistically stimulating.

For its first fifteen years, the Project relied on borrowed spaces in which to implement its programs. In 1996, the Project established The Clubhouse, a center where children can flourish in the heart of, but sheltered from, the tough neighborhood in which they live. In 2010, the Project opened its current facility, which includes, for the first time in its history, its very own theater (Five Angels Theater) dedicated to the work of the kids of the neighborhood.

Photos: Edie Falco, Bryce Pinkham, Stephanie McKay, Lena Hall, Nick Blaemire, Jacob Ming-Trent, Matthew Saldívar at The 52nd Street Project’s Gala FANCY THAT
Photos: Willie Reale, Frances McDormand, Lewis Black, Bela Fleck, Renee Goldsberry, Duncan Sheik, Lisa Benavides, Abigail Washburn, Tim Blake Nelson at The 52nd Street Project Benefit 
Multimedia: The 52nd Street Project Benefit Photos: Michael Cerveris, James Monroe Inglehart, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Matthew Morrison, Greg Naughton and Kelli O’Hara

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer and a multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and

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