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Jack McBrayer Joins Cast of “The Normal Heart,” Directed by Joel Grey & Presented by Daryl Roth

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Rick Miramontez / Andy Snyder / Molly Barnett
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE

JACK McBRAYER
TO MAKE BROADWAY DEBUT
IN THE HISTORIC
25th ANNIVERSARY STAGED READING OF
LARRY KRAMER’S
“THE NORMAL HEART”
IN NEW YORK CITY

DIRECTED BY JOEL GREY
PRESENTED BY DARYL ROTH

ONE-NIGHT-ONLY EVENT ON BROADWAY
TO BENEFIT THE ACTORS FUND AND FRIENDS IN DEED
MONDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2010
AT THE WALTER KERR THEATRE

ADDITIONAL CASTING WILL BE ANNOUNCED SHORTLY

New York, NY (September 22, 2010)
– Producer Daryl Roth announced today that two- time Emmy-nominee Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”) will make his Broadway debut in the upcoming, Joel Grey-directed, 25th anniversary staged reading of Larry Kramer’s ground-breaking play, The Normal Heart. The historic reading will take place at the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 West 48th Street) on Monday, October 18 at 7:30 p.m. He joins previously announced cast members Victor Garber, Jason Butler Harner, John Benjamin Hickey, Joe Mantello, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Patrick Wilson in the one-night-only event that will benefit The Actors Fund and Friends in Deed. Additional casting will be announced shortly.

The Normal Heart focuses on the terrifying early years of the AIDS epidemic in New York and the criminal silence of official America in dealing with it. First produced by Joseph Papp and directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg for New York’s Public Theater, the play was a critical sensation and ran for 294 performances.

Having been a part of the original production of The Normal Heart at The Public Theater, in which he played the role of Ned Weeks, Mr. Grey has special insight into the play, as well as a passionate commitment to the piece and to the issue it revolutionized: the AIDS epidemic. This reading comes on the heels of the sold-out, acclaimed reading of The Normal Heart at Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse in May, which was also directed by Mr. Grey.

Regular tickets range from $75 t0 $150. VIP tickets, which include premium seating, an invitation to a private after-party with the cast and a special listing in the souvenir program, range from $500 to $1000. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 212.221.7300, ext 133.

Frank Rich in the New York Times wrote of the original production, “The stage seethes with the conflict of impassioned, literally life-and-death argument.” In his Newsweek review, Jack Kroll called it, “Extraordinary ... a fierce and moving human drama.” Other responses included Liz Smith in the New York Daily News: "An astounding drama … a damning indictment of a nation in the middle of an epidemic with its head in the sand. It will make your hair stand on end even as the tears spurt from your eyes;" while legendary director Harold Prince stated, "I haven't been this involved - upset - in too damn long. Kramer honors us with this stormy, articulate theatrical work."

The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone – performers and those behind the scenes – who works in performing arts and entertainment, helping nearly 12,000 people directly each year, and hundreds of thousands online. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio and dance, The Fund’s programs include social services and emergency assistance, health care and insurance, housing, and employment and training services. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Actors Fund has – for over 125 years – been a safety net for those in need, crisis or transition.

Founded by Mike Nichols and Cynthia O’Neal in 1991, Friends in Deed -- The Crisis Center for Life-Threatening Illness -- has helped transform many thousands of lives through a wide array of free programs and services. Friends In Deed provides emotional and spiritual support for anyone diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening physical illnesses. Support is also available for family, friends, and caregivers of those who are ill, and anyone dealing with grief and bereavement. All services are free of charge.

Bio

Jack McBrayer
plays Kenneth, the over-eager NBC page on NBC’s three-time Emmy Award-winning “30 Rock,” a workplace comedy where the workplace exists behind-the-scenes of a live variety show. McBrayer is a two-time Emmy nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series as Kenneth; and has also received a separate nomination for Outstanding Special Class, Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Programs, for his work on NBC.com’s “Kenneth the Web Page” feature. Additionally, he along with the “30 Rock” cast, won a 2009 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. McBrayer has performed at the sketch comedy epicenters of three cities beginning with Second City and ImprovOlympic in Chicago, the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York as well as the UCB and IO outposts in Los Angeles. He has made numerous appearances in sketches on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and has appeared on “Arrested Development.” He also starred in Judd Apatow’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Universal Pictures) opposite Jason Segel, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd and Kristen Bell; and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Columbia Pictures) opposite Will Ferrell. McBrayer will next be heard in the lead voiceover roles in Reboot Ralph (Disney Pixar), HOP (Universal Pictures), and “The Simpsons” (Fox). His other voiceover credits include the summer box office hit Despicable Me (Illumination / Universal Pictures).

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