Last season on Broadway, actor Bryce Pinkham dazzled audiences in the musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. The murderous role earned him a Tony nomination (along with a Tony award for the show). This year he's in an altogether different role and earning more praise in the critically lauded Broadway revival of The Heidi Chronicles.
In Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Heidi (Elisabeth Moss) and her friends Scoop (Jason Biggs) and Peter Patrone (Pinkham's character) struggle to make the right choices as they navigate entry into adulthood and beyond. As Pinkham explains, "Peter is there so we can watch Heidi discover what it means to have it all."
Pinkham, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama shared some very cool things that we might not know about him.
For example, he co-founded, zaraaina.org, a not-for-profit children's theater company, to help empower at-risk kids in Madagascar.
"Lucas Caleb Rooney, another Broadway actor is one of my best friends. I took him to the airport when he was going to visit Madagascar. He wrote me an email about a month into his trip and said, 'hey, buddy, we got to come back here, and help.' When I picked him up at the airport, I saw a somewhat different person in front of me. I said, I want some of that. We then talked about putting a group together to go back and do theater with at-risk children, of which there are many in Madagascar.
We returned with 10 American artists and built a traveling show with 14 at-risk kids -- based in a folk tale of their Malagasy culture. Now we've expanded to 30 kids. We started this children's theater company. They receive theatrical storytelling programming once a week. We pay for their school tuition, meals and medical expenses. It was one of those things that was a crazy idea, but we said, 'if we wait around for this to be perfect, we'll never do it. So let's just go and figure it out.' And we did.
Zara Aina is a Malagasy phrase that means share life. Our philosophy is that the kids have to be at the center of the creative process. We are there to facilitate the performance and help them take center stage. At one point, there were kids on our backs. We played horses, servants or ladies in waiting. We help usher them through the performance, but never take the spotlight away from them.
The goal is to teach them how to create their own work and also use theater as a tool to keep the kids in school. There's nothing more powerful than being on a stage doing something you created and having a group of strangers clap for you. It's a reminder that you have value and are worthy of taking the stage in life."
For more information about the Heidi Chronicles visit, www.theheidichroniclesonbroadway.com.
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