The inaugural New Works Virtual Festival, founded by actors Kevin Pollack with Bart Shatto and Jim Auld, kicked off on December 5th and is now running through Christmas Day. It features twenty plays performed online by acclaimed performers and artists, including Sharon Harris Warrick's "Cud’n Helen Ain’t Got No Color," which streams on YouTube at 7pm CT on Monday, December 21st, and features a cast that includes RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert (the livestream is embedded below).
Pollack and his co-producers were able to recruit over 200 Hollywood and Broadway actors to participate in the New Works Virtual Fest. "The collaboration was beyond my wildest dreams," exclaimed Kevin Pollack. "And we are able to make the viewing of the plays free because of donations and contributions from a few sponsors. But we hope that you feel inspired to donate to The Actors Fund. The pandemic has taken a toll on all segments of society."
All of the festival's proceeds will go to The Actors Fund, the 501 (c)(3) charitable organization supporting performers and behind-the-scenes workers in entertainment, helping over 17,000 people each year.
Among the performers scheduled to participate in this year's festival are Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin; Oscar-nominees Kathleen Turner, Marsha Mason and Chris Sarandon; George Wendt, Richard Kind, Stephen Tobolowsky, Dan Lauria, Richard Pryor Jr., Elaine Hendrix, Bruce Vilanch, Carmen Cusack and RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert among many, many others.
"It's an honor that all these famous names are contributing their talents to this festival," Pollack told us in a recent interview (which you can read in full here). "The Actors Fund has done a lot for many actors in the community, and I'm so glad that some of the biggest names in TV, film and Broadway are giving up their time and talent to support not only a worthy cause, but new writers and new voices."
Each play can be found on the festival's YouTube channel, and donations can be made to The Actors Fund here. You can also follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter (@nwvfestival) and Instagram (@newworksvirtualfestival). All plays stream at 7pm CT on YouTube and Facebook. Below is the complete schedule of plays being performed virtually this month...
12/05: Oscar & Walt (Donald Steven Olson)
12/06: Secret Hour (Jenny Stafford)
12/07: Bloomer Girls (Emily Brauer Rogers)
12/08: The QOL Mandate (Hope Villanueva)
12/09: In the Gutter (John Morogiello)
12/10: Til Jason Comes (Dan Lauria)
12/11: Now You See It, Now You Don’t (Mike Gingerella)
12/12: A Mighty Road to Heaven (Andre M. Zucker)
12/13: So When Are You Leaving? (Sheila Rinear)
12/14: Happy Couples (Connie Dinkler)
12/15: We the People (Harrison Zeiberg)
12/16: Otherwise Engayged (Hal Katkov)
12/17: Four Horses (Mary Beringer)
12/18: The Wickham Way (Rachel Rubin Ladutke with songs by Lisa Brigantino)
12/19: Collegeburg USA (Kerri Kochanski)
12/20: Family Game Night (Peter Kennedy)
12/21: Cud’n Helen Ain’t Got No Color (Sharon Harris Warrick)
12/22: March 9, 1965 (Stanley William Hathaway)
12/23: A Man with No Opinion (Kevin Wiczer)
12/24: Frontiers (Andrew Apollo)
12/25: Farce Day of Christmas (Ken Levine)
The New Works Virtual Festival is running now through Christmas Day on YouTube and Facebook. Donations can be made to The Actors Fund here. Follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter (@nwvfestival) and Instagram (@newworksvirtualfestival).