By Jenny Peters
When Rosie Perez rolls into town with the 24 Hour Plays, celebrities scramble to join her. After all, it’s a chance for Hollywood’s movie and television stars to stretch their chops – and all for a great cause. The annual show benefits the Urban Arts Partnership, the group dedicated to keeping arts education in public schools.
The idea of the 24 Hour Plays is simple. Actors, writers, directors and stage production/lighting/prop managers gather at 10 p.m., bringing along their own costumes, wigs and other random props, and they begin the creative process of writing, staging and performing six new short plays. By 10 p.m. the next night (24 hours, get it?), the performances are complete and the after party celebration begins.
This year, the third annual held in Santa Monica at the Broad Stage Theater (they have been doing it for 13 years in NYC) and also the third sponsored by Montblanc, the stars stampeded to lend their talents to the cause. Melanie Griffith led the charge, performing in a wacky piece called “The Carrot,” directed by Fred Savage and co-starring “American Pie” pals Eddie Kaye Thomas and Jason Biggs. Seth Green made the scene in a bear costume, along with cuties Lucy Punch and Tracie Thomas in “Bear Witness.” And “Star Trek Into Darkness” hottie John Cho and Oscar nominee John Hawkes, along with “Glee” star Ashley Fink and Alla Shawkat (of “Arrested Development” fame) rounded out the first act.
More talented thesps took the stage in the second half, including Wilmer Valderrama, Molly Sims, Jamie Chung, David Krumholtz, Jack McBrayer, Sasha Alexander, Michael Ealy and, of course, Rosie Perez, who ruled the stage in a comic performance as Athena.
Later on, at the Shore Hotel, Perez reminded the partying crowd about the purpose of the event.
“We’re all here to dance and have fun, but don’t forget to bid on the silent auction!” she exhorted the well-heeled gang that included all of the performers. “I know you’ve all given already, but please give more. We need to keep the arts in schools!”
All photos courtesy Getty Images/24 Hour Plays