You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

James McAvoy, Michael Kenneth Williams ‘Check Ego at the Door’ for 24 Hour Plays

Flubs, foibles, and charm abounds at 13th annual fundraiser for leading arts org

On Nov. 18, Montblanc’s 24 Hour Plays on Broadway brought together six directors, six playwrights, and 24 actors to perform six short plays written and rehearsed just a day before.

Donning costumes ranging from the banal (Jason Biggs in a man-child’s t-shirt) to the bizarre (Josh Lucas in a banana suit and cape), performers navigated their way through the one-two punch of both “instant” theater and a day without beauty rest.

Why would talent risk their reps on a roomful of strangers? For the Urban Arts’ Partnership, whose “24 Hour Plays” have raised awareness — and funds — for the organization since 2000.

As New York City’s largest arts education non-profit, Urban Arts Partnership boasts a high school graduation of 100%, and a 92% college enrollment rate. They owe their success to classroom arts programs and the thousands of underserved students who’ve been given access to this increasingly rare opportunity.

James McAvoy, sporting a five o’clock shadow, was ready for anything. “You’ve kind of got to check your ego and your pride in at the door. Even if you make a complete fool of yourself, you’re doing it for a very, very good thing.”

Though, with the exception of a few puffy eyes or scraggly beards, neither the cast nor crew seemed any worse for the wear. Actor and board member Michael Kenneth Williams even managed to find time for a siesta. “I slept during rehearsals,” admitted Williams. “The writing was really top-notch, it was seamless. We ran our lines, and just knocked it down.”

Other performers included Sasha Alexander, David Cross, Tim Daly, Natalie Dormer, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Bryan Greenberg, Zachary Levi, Anthony Mackie, Rosie Perez, Jay Pharoah, Maggie Q, Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Westfeldt. Directing the short plays were Ari Edeson, Jessica Bauman, Andy Fickman, Patricia McCregor, Kathy Najimy and Thomas Kail.

More Scene

  • Nicole KidmanWarner Bros. Pictures World Premiere

    How James Wan Convinced Nicole Kidman to Star in 'Aquaman'

    While some actors dream of playing a superhero, that wasn’t the case for the cast of “Aquaman.” “I knew nothing about this,” Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the James Wan-directed action film, told Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “I knew nothing about comic books in general. I didn’t know anything about this [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City last was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

  • John CenaSports Illustrated Sportsperson of the

    John Cena on WWE's Acceptance by Hollywood and the Professional Sports World

    John Cena says the WWE is finally getting the attention it deserves by Hollywood and the professional sports world. “I’m just glad that no longer are we looked down upon, not only by the sport industry, but by the performing arts industry,” Cena told Variety on Tuesday night in Beverly Hills at Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of [...]

  • Steve Carell Welcome to Marwen

    Steve Carell on New Film 'Welcome to Marwen' and Reprising His 'Anchorman' Character

    In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was nearly beaten to death by five men outside of a bar. Left with brain damage and little money to afford therapy, Hogancamp began creating miniature doll versions of himself, his friends, and his attackers as a way to cope. This true story inspired the 2010 documentary “Marwencol” and the upcoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content