“Victory Gardens has a tradition of partnering with artists and community organizations,” states Interim Managing Director Christopher Mannelli of the theater’s upcoming event The Warriors for Newtown which benefits the Sandy Hook Elementary Victims Relief Fund.
Held at 7:30 pm on Sunday, January 6, 2013 at the Victory Gardens Zacek McVay Theater on 2433 North Lincoln Avenue, the evening includes a reading of Evan Linder’s The Warriors which was conceived by Chicago actress Mary Hollis Inboden who, at 12 years-old, survived the Westside Middle School massacre of the 1990s.
With artistic contributions by Sarah Gitenstein, Wes Needham, Whit Nelson, Nicole Pellegrino and Michael Peters, and direction by Kimberly Senior, the reading features Will Allen, Cora Vander Broek, Matthew Brumlow, Cliff Chamberlain, Kristina Valada-Viars, and Inboden herself.
In an honest and irreverent homecoming that mixes fact, fiction, identity, and history, Inboden recruits an ensemble of her former classmates to help capture their stories, not of the tragic event that unites them, but of the daily battles and triumphs that define their present.
“With this national tragedy, I can’t help but think back to March of 1998, when at 12 years old my best friend Paige and four others were shot and killed on our school playground just feet in front of me. The shooting at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, occurred just 13 months before the even deadlier incident at Columbine High School,” Inboden observes.
“Talking about my own experience as a survivor in the immediate aftermath of this fresh incident feels inappropriate. Our focus should be completely on the children and families of Newtown. And yet, like all of us, I want to be able to contribute something to the healing process.
“In thinking about The Warriors again, I think I’ve found a small way I can contribute – by presenting a staged reading of The Warriors as a benefit for the people of Newtown, Connecticut. I know from experience one of the most critical matters will be the continued support of the mental well-being of those affected by the tragedy. We intend for this benefit to support those efforts.”
“The entire staff here has been deeply affected by this tragedy, and feels fortunate that we are able to host Mary Hollis Inboden for the reading,” notes Mannelli. “We hope that through the arts, we can make even a little difference to residents of Newtown while inspiring dialogue here in Chicago and, perhaps, even to help us work through our own feelings of helplessness, shock and grief.”
Tickets for The Warriors for Newtown are $15 with all proceeds going to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. To order, call 773-871-3000 or visit http://www.victorygardens.org/thewarriors.
For those unable to attend, donations can be made directly to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund by visiting https://newtown.uwwesternct.org/
The Warriors was originally produced by The New Colony at The Second Stage in 2011.