In Case You Missed It: The 24 Hour Plays in Los Angeles!
Michelle Trachtenberg was a chainsaw-murdering video game character falling in love on Friday night, and Alanis Morissette was just trying to figure out the best way to perform a ritual sacrifice. Say what?
The actresses were just two of the 24 artists participating in 24 Hour Plays, where celebrities and high school students come together to put on six 10-minute performances, from conception to final bow, in just 24 hours. All proceeds from the sold-out show at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California, went toward Urban Arts Partnership (UAP), a nonprofit organization in New York and Los Angeles that creates arts programs in underserved communities.
Rosie Perez is the artistic board chair with UAP, and while discussing her involvement with the organization recalled how she still remembers her 7th grade music teacher spending nearly an entire semester on Paul McCartney’s progression as a musician and his cultural impact on the world. “How special it was for me,” she told Yahoo, adding that it is her belief in arts education that led to her involvement with UAP. 24 Hour Plays is held every year in New York and Los Angeles, with a combination of new and veteran celebrity faces taking part.
Fashion Police co-host Osbourne was a newbie, and though she tackled one of the evening’s more serious roles, it was hard for her to keep a straight face when acting opposite Seth Green. “I was just begging Seth Green not to make me laugh,” Osbourne told Yahoo.
Gavin Rossdale was another first-timer at the 24 Hour Plays event. Surprisingly, the Bush frontman (and Gwen Stefani’s hubby) confessed he was a bit nervous to be appearing onstage with so many acting veterans. “Usually I have a guitar and mic in front of me,” he noted. Regardless of his lack of acting experience, the kids were thrilled to get the chance to share the stage with the rocker.
Oskar Guzman was one of two students selected to participate in the star-studded performance. The high school senior from San Fernando, California, said he’s been “speechless” ever since he found out he was chosen.
“I get to be up there with people who made it in this business doing what I love to do,” Guzman told Yahoo. “[It] is just a dream come true.”
It’s important to note that UAP is more than just an arts program, said Philip Courtney, CEO of Urban Arts Partnership. It’s about working with the schools “to create engaging and relevant classroom content that provides an entry point for learning core subject material for a broad spectrum of learners.” In doing so, UAP leverages the public school system to provide services to students who would otherwise fall behind.
Urban Arts thrives and defies the odds at a time when many state governments have cut arts-education funding in schools. According to a 2012 report released by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, there is an “equity gap” between the availability of arts education for students in low-poverty schools compared with those in high-income school systems. Among the report’s finding: “access to arts education remains inconsistent and elusive to the majority of students across the nation.”
“Students tend to thrive when they are given the opportunity to do so,” said Mike Giannattasio, president and CEO of Montblanc North America, which sponsored the event. “In under-financed public schools, students suffer unduly as a result of financial difficulties, when truly schools should act as a platform to support students’ scholastic and artistic development.”
Parenthood‘s Jason Ritter, who also participated in last night’s performance, echoed those sentiments.
“Every kid needs to feel like they have an affect on the world,” said Ritter. “Sometimes academics aren’t for everyone, but no kid should feel stupid, and arts is a great way to make them feel they’re making a difference and they’re connected and have a place here.”
UAP recognizes that there is always a reason behind a kid becoming a “problem child,” said Perez.
“We try to see them, understand them, ask questions and help them through whatever issues they are dealing with,” Perez told Yahoo. “Once that’s addressed, we ask them to take inventory and responsibility of their personal growth, while being there for them through that difficult process.”
Guzman is one of those who has grown and seen his potential through UAP, and now he has high hopes for the future: “I want to be Oskar winning an Oscar.”
Mikaela Conley for Yahoo! Celebrity