In the News: Viola Davis, Rita Moreno, Meryl Streep Give Voice to Notable Women, Christine Ebersole to Be Honored, More | Playbill

Benefits and Galas In the News: Viola Davis, Rita Moreno, Meryl Streep Give Voice to Notable Women, Christine Ebersole to Be Honored, More Plus: Natalie Toro, Orville Mendoza, Marc de la Cruz, and more are featured in a new music video for Bye Bye Birdie's "The Telephone Hour."
Viola Davis, Rita Moreno, and Meryl Streep

Read on for some recent theatre headlines and videos you may have missed.

Viola Davis, Rita Moreno, Meryl Streep, More Give Voice to Central Park Statues of Great Women
Jane Alexander, Viola Davis, America Ferrera, Rita Moreno, Zoe Saldana, and Meryl Streep give voice to Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Talking Statues Monologues that accompany the August 26 unveilings of the first statues of real women in New York's Central Park. The Talking Statues project began in Copenhagen in 2013 in King’s Garden; the original idea was to make short films about each statue, but it was later decided the statues should tell their own stories. Talking Statues is now a part of Monumental Women’s education campaign to educate Park visitors, young people, and schoolchildren around the world about women’s history.

Talking Statues will also give voice to seven new female Talking Statues in the project “She Built NYC.” This collaboration with the Department of Education in New York includes talking statues of Rep. Shirley Chisholm (Brooklyn), Billie Holiday (Queens), Elizabeth Jennings Graham (Manhattan), Dr. Helen Rodriguez Trías (Bronx), Katherine Walker (Staten Island), and Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera (Manhattan). For more information go to

Natalie Toro, Orville Mendoza, Marc de la Cruz, More Featured in Music Video for Bye Bye Birdie's "The Telephone Hour"
New works development organization Live & In Color debuted a new music video for the classic Bye Bye Birdie tune “The Telephone Hour” during a chat with original Birdie star Chita Rivera as part of the organization's weekly online talk show Be Our Guest. Featured in the video are several theatre alums, including Natalie Toro (A Tale of Two Cities), Maria-Christina Oliveras (Amelie), Orville Mendoza (Peter and the Starcatcher), Rheaume Crenshaw (Groundhog Day), Diana Huey (The Little Mermaid), Marc de la Cruz (Rent), Jonathan Burke (Choir Boy), Martin Sola (The King and I), Devin Trey Campbell (Kinky Boots), Shelley Thomas-Harts (Brooklyn), Andres Quintero (Bat Out of Hell), and Lucille Lortel Award winner Kuhoo Verma (Octet). The video, produced by Lauren Grajewski, features filmmaking by Andrew Young, animation by Erika Nardi, and musical supervision by Ricky Romano.

Live & In Color invites viewers to help them get the word out about the work they do to foster diversity in the arts. With a donation from Tiger Baron Foundation, Live & In Color will receive $1 for every like, share, and subscribe of “The Telephone Hour” video up to $7,500.

Christine Ebersole to Be Honored by Music Conservatory of Westchester

Christine Ebersole Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Two-time Tony winner Christine Ebersole will receive the Achievement in the Arts Award from the Music Conservatory of Westchester during its 19th annual gala, presented as a virtual fundraiser this year. In addition to Ebersole, Tony nominees Kate Baldwin, Alex Brightman, and Lilli Cooper will be part of the festivities. The gala takes place September 23 at 7 PM ET with streaming details and more celebrity appearances to be announced. Proceeds will go toward the conservatory’s music therapy program, scholarships, and the Healing Our Heroes program. For more information, click here.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Gets a New Permanent Home
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival will move to a new piece of land in Phillipstown, New York, gifted by philanthropist Christopher Davis. The non-profit theatre will rebuild its open-air tent along the Hudson River as a permanent open-air structure, with plans to begin staging productions in 2022 (the 2021 summer season will remain at its current site in Garrison).

“[This] historic gift preserves this land and allows HVSF to transform from a summer festival to a year-round cultural anchor in the region,” says Artistic Director Davis McCallum. The group has also acknowledged that gifted land was once occupied by the Lenape (Munsee) people, and plans to engage with indigenous artists to create work that reflects the area's culture and educates visitors. HVSF has also tapped six theatre makers as part of its inaugural Tent Pole commission, which aims to develop the new artistic space. Despite canceling its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, HVSF has moved forward with a slate of digital offerings including virtual readings, bi-weekly talks with artists, and remote education programs.

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