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Cause Celebre: Christine Ebersole, Marian Seldes and Mercedes Ruehl in a benefit evening in aid of prison reform.


Cause C�l�bre, the new theatre company devoted to fostering an enhanced understanding of psychological, physical and social issues., and where each month a different issue will be the focal point, and for which proceeds raised go to a foundation connected to the cause, will present its next event at The Players on 18 Mar 2008.

For the third presentation by Cause C�l�bre, Christine Ebersole, Mercedes Ruehl, Marian Seldes, and Linda Powell will perform in a series of readings, performances, original works and song (from Ms. Ebersole) in an evening devoted to, and benefiting, prison reform and The Fortune Society.

In addition to the established performers, two members from Fortune Academy, the Fortune Society�s nationally-recognized residence in Harlem for homeless individuals with criminal records, will perform selections from a dramatic story of change and hope they�ve created with Fortune Society founder David Rothenberg, �The Castle.� Vilma Ortiz Donovan and Casimiro Torres will be on hand telling their life stories from childhood, crime, prison, homelessness and into... The Castle.

The program will open and close with a song from Ms. Ebersole who will also perform in �A Lady of Letters� from �Talking Heads�. Over the last few years, Ms. Ruehl has been corresponding with a woman on death row. She is no longer on death row as her sentence has been commuted to life inprisonment. Mercedes will be reading excerpts from these stirring letters.

There will be a scene from �Prism Blues,� the Joseph Kesselring Award-winning play by Cause C�l�bre (and its parent organization �Food For Thought�) founder, Susan Charlotte. Linda Powell will play the role of a young woman who is at Riker's Island and asks her mother for bail. Her mother refuses to give it to her. And, Marian Seldes will perform selected readings. John Doman and Isiah Whitlock, Jr. from the gritty HBO show �The Wire� will perform a series of hard-hitting prison themed readings.

The evening will be co-directed by Antony Marsellis and Christopher Hart. The program will be followed by a q&a with the performers and representatives from The Fortune Society.

This is the third presentation of Cause C�l�bre. The company�s inaugural presentation in December was devoted to the National Meningitis Association and featured Joan Copeland, Marian Seldes, Bob Dishy and Judy Graubart. The next program starred Marlo Thomas in a new work, benefiting St. Jude�s, the hospital started by Marlo�s father, Danny Thomas.

Other upcoming presentations will be devoted to and benefit such diverse causes and organizations as Heartshare�s Frances Aiellos (Danny�s mother) Day Treatment Center in Bedford Stuyvesant.; an evening to benefit the Museum of the History of Polish Jews located in what had been the ghettos of Warsaw; a Tribute to Kitty Carlisle Hart benefiting the Glaucoma Foundation; an evening benefiting the Honorable Tina L. Brozman Foundation, a charity devoted to the promotion of awareness of ovarian cancer; and additional causes such as pancreatic cancer, brain tumors and cerebral palsy among others.

Shows begin at 6:30 and will be preceded and followed by a reception. The Players is located at 16 Gramercy Park South.

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