A SUPERHERO EFFORT on Monday night at the Fox Theatre raised more than $500,000 for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico.
The event: a starry staged reading of Thornton Wilder’s great American play Our Town, organized by actor Scarlett Johansson and directed by True Colors Theatre’s Kenny Leon.
“I knew I could count on you, Atlanta,” Johansson said before the reading began. “We love to shoot here. It’s a very inspiring city, an incredibly inspiring community.”
Atlanta actors filled out the cast of the 1938 classic set in mythical Grover’s Corners, N.H. It looks at small-town life in early 20th-century America and the universal experiences of life, love and death.
Johansson, a 2010 Tony Award winner for a revival of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge, played young Emily Webb. Renner played her great love, George Gibb, with Downey as the Stage Manager, the character who guides the audience through Grovers Corners’ days, nights and years.
Evans and Atlanta actor Tess Malis Kincaid played Emily parents; Ruffalo and Atlanta actor Brittany L. Inge (stepping in for “The Walking Dead’s” Danai Gurira) played George’s parents. Also in the company: Atlanta actors Rob Demery, Kayce Grogan-Wallace, Barbara Kincaid, Mark Kincaid, Chani Maisonet, Diany Rodriguez and D. Woods. No one involved took a paycheck, according to Leon, who directed the piece at his own theater in 2010.
All proceeds go to the Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund and will be used to support immediate relief, recovery and equitable rebuilding in Puerto Rico, which was hit and devastated Sept. 20.
Johansson was determined to take action after seeing the reports that electricity has yet to be restored to much of Puerto Rico and that access to clean drinking water remains a challenge. “Our Town is this kind of warrior cry to remind us of the fragility of life,” she said. “It reminds us to be present and live moment by moment. It’s really about people and connectivity.”
“As artists we’re always looking in the mirror,” Leon said. “It’s incumbent upon us to make our world the way we want to make it. Most artists I work with are in it for a deeper reason. They want to make a difference in the world.”