“It’s a one-time benefit performance with an all-star soap cast,” producer/director/actress Judith Chapman (Gloria, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) bubbles of her latest major project. “[They] include Christian LeBlanc, Vincent Irizarry, Michelle Stafford, Kristoff St. John, Greg Rikaart, Daniel Goddard and Emily O’Brien (Michael, David, Phyllis, Neil, Kevin, Cane and Jana, Y&R), John Callahan (ex-Edmund) from AMC, and Ron Hale (Mike) from GH. We’re doing a staged reading of The Trial of the Catonsville 9, the true story of a group of nuns, priests and laypeople who burned draft cards in protest of the Vietnam War in the late ’60s.”
Chapman took action after seeing The Actors’ Gang’s all-star reading of the play, which was led by Martin Sheen and Tim Robbins in Los Angeles this past August. “It was such a moving story and it’s timely 40 years later,” Chapman maintains,. After a chat with Robbins, she was set on producing Catonsville — and raising some money! — with a star-studded cast of her peers.
“I’ve always had a fantasy of having an annual soap opera theater benefit, so this is the pilot project,” she continues. “Proceeds go to Kiva, an organization that facilitates micro-loans to small businesses in the developing world. These priests and nuns worked with the working poor around the country, so Kiva seemed like a natural choice.”
Cast and fans will have to schedule a visit to Chapman’s turf, Palm Springs, Calif., for the Jan. 19 event at the Palm Canyon Theatre. “We’re doing this on a shoestring,” Chapman shares. “We’re charging $60, so I can’t afford to pay the actors, but I can feed them at my restaurant the next day. It’s a worthy cause.”
This event promises to be entertaining, and if all goes well, may only be the first. “This is a play that could be taken around the country,” Chapman muses. “I love theater, and as Greg Rikaart put it, ‘I’m going to feed my soul!'”
Check www.judithchapman.com for updates on ticket info.
For a poster advertising the event, click here.