It was a night to share the LOVE. The Women’s Expressive Theater (WET) held its annual benefit on Monday evening, February 9, to raise money for its many programs aimed at supporting women in theater, film, television, and education. Stars from stage and screen appeared before a sold-out house to perform in a series of one-act plays written by up-and-coming female writers.
Performers included Debra Messing, Blythe Danner, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Perrey Reeves, from HBO’s Entourage, John Lloyd Young, Tony-Award winner for Jersey Boys, Maulik Pancholy, of 30 Rock, Tracie Thoms, from Cold Case, and many others. The one-act plays, selected from an avalanche of those submitted, gave the actors plenty of material to work with. While the plots were varied, each focused on relationships, whether between two best friends, a husband and a wife, a mother and her son, even a dog and its owner.
If the female characters seemed fresh and avoided stereotypes, that’s just the way WET’s co-founders, Victoria Pettibone and Sasha Eden, want it. The two women worked in the entertainment industry after graduating from college and were upset by the way women were being portrayed in film, on TV, the stage, even in commercials. They also recognized the dearth of opportunities available for women who wanted to write, direct, and produce. Rather than sit on the sidelines, they decided to do something about the situation and launched WET.
Now ten years old, WET continues to give women the chance to showcase their work. WET’s INKubator program supports female playwrights and screenwriters throughout the year with readings and workshops. Understanding that young girls are most affected by what they see in the media, WET’s Risk Takers Film Series teaches girls how to look at the media through a critical eye. More than 100 girls from 80 New York City schools are accepted into the program each year.
WET’s LOVE benefit raises money to support the group’s programs. Monday night was a time to celebrate what WET has accomplished and encourage others to get involved. And the eight plays showcased—better than any report or statistic could—what women in the creative arts can accomplish when given financial and emotional support.
Following the performance, the audience mingled with the stars, writers, and WET officials, sipping Champagne and enjoying a buffet dinner. A surprise marriage proposal by Ralph Carhart, WET’s production manager, to his girlfriend, Anna, ended the evening on a LOVEly note. (See Playing Around).
Photo at top, from left to right: Sasha Eden, WET co-founder; Blythe Danner; Yung Moon, associate publisher, creative services, for Self Magazine; and, Victoria Pettibone, co-founder, WET.
For more information, or to contribute to WET, go to the organization’s website, www.wetweb.org.