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Blythe Danner, Brooke Shields, And Julie White Play To A Packed House In ’The Vagina Monologues’

Originally Posted: April 29, 2011

Matt McGrath, producer, Julie White, and Mariska Hargitay. (Kurt Leggard)

Southampton - In association with the 2011 V-Day Campaign, Producers Matt McGrath and Minerva Scelza were overwhelmed by interest in their benefit production of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" that was performed at John Drew Theater at Guild Hall in East Hampton. Significant funds were raised for The Retreat as well as VDay Organization.

Julie White, Blythe Danner, Minerva Scelza,producer, and Brooke Shields. (Kurt Leggard)

Mariska Hargitay and Alec Baldwin were among those in the spirited and generous audience. Julie White shone brightly with her rendition of "Vagina Workshop," Blythe Danner threw caution to the wind with "Because He Liked to Look at It," and Brook Shields brought the house to tears with Eve Ensler's homage to birth, "I was there in the Room."

Each actress brought their full talent and energy to this production. You could feel the tension and horror in the audience during the Bosnian rape monologue. Alternately, "Reclaiming C---" elicited the spontaneous audience response of yelling out the reviled "C" word to Julie White as she cajoled and demanded it during her monologue.

Performances were met with standing ovations. All the cast joined a small reception in the green room for photos and post show celebration.

Danner was awarded a Tony Award for her Broadway debut in "Butterflies Are Free" and has received nominations for her role as Emma in Harold Pinter's "Betrayal," Blanche Dubois in Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" and Phyllis in Stephen Sondheim's "Follies." She also received a Drama Desk nomination for "Suddenly Last Summer" at the Roundabout. She also appeared opposite Geraldine Page in "Blithe Spirit." She has performed for more than 20 years at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. She played Beatrice to Kevin Kline's Benedick in "Much Ado About Nothing" for NY's Shakespeare Festival in the Park and she has appeared the Mark Taper Forum, Trinity Square Playhouse, BAM, with Sarah Jessica Parker in A.R. Gurney's "Slyvia" at the MTC and for The Roundabout Theatre Company. She won a Theatre World Award for her role in "The Miser" at Lincoln Center. Her films include "The Great Santini," "Meet The Parents," "Meet The Fockers," "Mr. And Mrs. Bridge 1776," Barbra Streisand's "The Prince Of Tides," Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and three Woody Allen films. Most recently, she starred in "Little Fockers," "Paul," and "Detachment." She also played in "Sylvia" with her daughter Gwyneth Paltrow. On television she won two Emmy Awards for her role on Showtime's "Huff" and was nominated twice for "Will And Grace." Other television credits include "St. Elsewhere," produced by her husband Bruce Paltrow, "Cruel Doubt," "Inside The Third Reich" with Sir John Gielgud, and "Adam's Rib" with Ken Howard. She serves on the board of Advocates for Planned Parenthood and the Oral Cancer Foundation supporting the Bruce Paltrow Fund named for her late husband.

Shields is a highly accomplished television, film and theatre actress, as well as businesswoman, author and model. Brooke recently appeared on stage in "Girls Talk" (Lee Strassberg Theater). This year in her own show "In My Life" Brooke shared stories from her incredible journey in show business at the famed Loews Regency. Shields can currently be seen in "Chalet Girl," "Furry Vengeance" with Brendan Fraser and Dick Van Dyke. She also starred in"Werewolf" for Nickelodeon. Recently on stage, Shields starred in "Leap of Faith" and in "Love, Loss, and What I Wore." In 1997 and 1998 she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy, for her hit comedy show, "Suddenly Susan." Brooke is the recipient of five People's Choice Awards - "Favorite Young Performer" in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984 and "Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series" in 1997. Shields began her professional career at only 11 months of age when she was selected as the Ivory Snow Baby, and by age three was a runway model. Shields has graced the covers of hundreds of magazines, most notably Time Magazine as the "Face of the Eighties." At age nine, Shields began her extensive film career in "Holy Terror" and went on to greater parts in Louis Malles' "Pretty Baby," and Randal Kleiser's "Blue Lagoon." Shields is an Honors Graduate from Princeton University and in 1995 made her Broadway debut as Rizzo in the hit musical "Grease." Shields went on to star in "Chicago," "Wonderful Town," and "Cabaret," Shields is the author of "The Brooke Book," "On Your Own," "Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression." She recently released her second children's book "It's the Best Day Ever Dad" for Harper Collins on April 21. As the spokesperson for Latisse, she continues to be a strong advocate for children's rights. Latisse donates $5 to Make A Wish for every person who signs up on their website.

On Stage- Julie White, Blythe Danner, Brooke Shields. (Kurt Leggard)

White is a Tony Award winning actress, known for her role in "Grace Under Fire" and for her role as Judy Witwicky in the "Transformers" film series. On Broadway, White appeared in a production of Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "The Heidi Chronicles." In 2006, she received rave reviews for "The Little Dog Laughed" by Douglas Carter Beane. She played the role of Diane, a screen agent, who, as one critic put it, is "a Mephistopheles in Manolos." The show, originally produced off-Broadway, transferred to Broadway with a new cast, including former "Grace Under Fire" costar Tom Everett Scott. She won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her performance, over fellow nominees Angela Lansbury, Vanessa Redgrave, Swoosie Kurtz and Eve Best.

Joe Mantello's directing credits include the Tony Award winning "Wicked," the original production of "The Vagina Monologues," "Other Desert Cities" with Stockard Channing (currently running at Lincoln Center), "Pal Joey," "November," "The Receptionist," "The Ritz," "Blackbird," "Three Days of Rain," "The Odd Couple," "Glengarry Glen Ross" (Tony nomination), "Laugh Whore," "Assassins" (Tony Award), "Take Me Out" (Tony Award), "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune," Terrence McNally and Jake Heggie's "Dead Man Walking" for the San Francisco Opera, "Love! Valour! Compassion!" (Tony nomination), "Blue Window," "God's Heart," "The Santaland Diaries," "Snakebit," "Three Hotels," and "Imagining Brad." Mantello also directed the film "Love! Valour! Compassion!" He is a recipient of numerous awards including Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes, and an Obie. He is a member of Naked Angels and an associate artist at Roundabout Theatre Company. Mantello is currently in rehearsals for a Broadway production of "The Normal Heart."

Lisa Leguillou worked with Mantello on "Wicked," "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune," "Take Me Out" and "The Vagina Monologues," She appeared in eight Broadway shows; on TV in "Sex and the City," "NYPD Blue" and "NY Undercover," and in the films "Changing Lanes," "Center Stage," "Everyone Says I Love You" and HBO's "Angels in America."

V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sexual slavery. Through V-Day campaigns, local volunteers and college students produce annual benefit performances of "The Vagina Monologues" to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own community. In 2011, V-Day will celebrate its 13th anniversary.

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