On Feb. 23, Actor’s Express Artistic Director Freddie Ashley sent out an urgent message to supporters of the 23-year-old theater: Help them raise $50,000 before the end of March and an additional $150,000 by June/July or bid goodbye to the daring experimental theater.

Over recent years, Actor’s Express has become the home of Libby’s Cabaret (since its Buckhead location was shuttered) as well as Essential Theatre’s annual festival of new plays. It’s supported budding playwrights, such as Lauren Gunderson and Steve Yockey, who have gone on to receive national acclaim, and trained numerous young actors in its internship program. Plays selected for the 2011-2012 season include two recent Broadway hits, an American classic and some new work — but that won’t happen unless Actor’s Express can pull itself out of debt, Ashley wrote.

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