As Rosie Perez tells it, the idea of the 24-Hour Plays is a simple one: "Six writers, six directors and 24 actors create six brand-new plays in 24 hours, never seen before, never to be seen again." Perez has been the force in New York City behind these exciting shows for more than 20 years, all done to benefit the Urban Arts Partnership, the organization dedicated to give opportunities in the arts to underprivileged children.
Now an annual event in Los Angeles as well, the Montblanc Presents The 24-Hour Plays stormed onto the Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Saturday, June 16, for a night of comic moments and quirky drama, after a cocktail party that got the theatergoers well lubricated up with Heineken beers, One Hope Wine and Peligroso Tequila, who sponsored the show along with presenting sponsor Montblanc.
Led by Perez, accompanied by the clever tunes of Leftover Cuties and featuring a star-studded cast of Hollywood's favorite performers, each one-act play kept the audience enthralled. Jason Biggs, "Revenge" star Gabriel Mann, Mircea Monroe and Collins Pennie started things off in "Trudi, Trudi, Trudi," a tale of bank robbers on the run, then in "I Love You, But," "Fringe" favorite Joshua Jackson took to the stage along with Gillian Jacobs of "Community" fame, Charity Wakefield and Ramon Rodriguez to ponder the vagaries of amour.
"Bachelor" brought out some of the night's biggest guns, as "Twilight" stunner Ashley Greene stripped down to her undergarments, "Battleship" beauty Brooklyn Decker played a man, and "Sex and the City" favorite David Eigenberg swapped spit with "Becker" star Saverio Guerra. Throw in Perez and a quick walk-on by a seriously buff Wilmer Valderrama and it was the winner of the first half.
After a quick intermission, the stars just kept coming, as David Krumholtz and "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" hottie Diane Neal stole the show in "Binoculars," a funny vision of love under a moonlit sky, with help from "Gossip Girl" Jessica Szohr, "Glee" star Ashley Fink and Perez again, whose death scene was a thing of comic beauty.
"Closing Time" featured "The Hunger Games" bruiser Alexander Ludwig, "Twilight" vampire Edi Gathegi, "New Girl" roommate Lamorne Morris and British beauty Gugu Mbatha-Raw in a dramatic turn. And finally, "Halfway Home" brought together Jason Ritter, Simon Helberg, Constance Zimmer and Tracie Thoms in a sexy finale.
And the party didn't end there, as everyone headed to the beach to the new Shore Hotel, for a poolside after party. Diane Kruger joined boyfriend Joshua Jackson, Amy Smart nibbled on a cracker, John Ritter did a little karaoke, Jessica Szohr and Wilmer Valderrama got cozy in a corner, and transplanted New Yorkers Diane Neal and her handsome hubbie Marcus Fitzgerald hung out into the wee hours.
"I didn't think there was much of a theater scene here in L.A.," Neal commented. "I guess this proves me wrong!"
It definitely does, at least for one night a year.
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