We couldn’t think of a better way to sum up how amazing our March 13, 2018 Play Reading was than with the words and excitement of our own students: 

Hear Elyce Here.

Opening Act, you probably haven’t heard of it.
All you need to know is it changed me –
Gave me a home, a safe place, and a family.
And most importantly a platform to be heard and perform,
To share my point of view,
And now I stand before you. 
Hear me clear
Hear me now

– Elyce Africa, Opening Act Student, Student Leadership Company

And don’t miss this amazing video of our students spontaneously rapping “Alexander Hamilton” with original HAMILTON cast member Anthony Ramos on the red carpet!

Check out more photos from the night!

You can still #TAKEACTION and help our students be heard –

Win a New York City Stay/Vacation Weekend! – 2 House Seats to HAMILTON (still the hottest ticket on Broadway!), two nights in a cool Manhattan hotel, a trip to the spa, insider passes to the city’s best museums, and fantastic meals. BUY YOUR $25 RAFFLE TICKET NOW and support the incredible young people of Opening Act!

Raffle sales end Friday, March 16, at 11:59 pm.

You can still donate (ANY amount makes an impact on our small but mighty organization!). We need you to continue to grow our programs!

A limited edition, artist-signed print of our beautiful HEAR ME HERE poster is now available! Click here to get yours! 

Opening Act, an innovative nonprofit that provides free after-school theater programming to New York City’s most under-served public high schools, presented its 12th Annual Benefit Play Reading, HEAR ME HERE, on Tuesday, March 13. Featuring world premieres by Christopher Oscar Peña (Insecure), Dominique Fishback (The Deuce), and the students of Opening Act, cast members included Billy Porter (Tony Award-winner, KINKY BOOTS), Anthony Ramos (original cast, Tony Award-winning HAMILTON), Priscilla Lopez (original cast, Tony Award-winning IN THE HEIGHTS), Dominique Fishback (HBO’s THE DEUCE), Natalie Paul (HBO’s THE DEUCE), Kim Director (HBO’s THE DEUCE), Gbenga Akinnagbe (HBO’s THE WIRE), Willow McCarthy (MATILDA), and Marcus Denard Johnson (THE MEETING), all under the direction of Kenny Leon (Tony Award-winner, RAISIN IN THE SUN).

Thank you to all of the talent and supporters that came out to celebrate the work we do, the community we do it with, and the students we do it for.


And a huge thank you goes out to the incredible individuals on our Boards and Event Committees, our silent auction donors, the cast and creative team, our Student Leadership Company, and our volunteers! 

Silent Auction Donors: 

1 Hotels Brooklyn Bridge, Acorn Theater, Ali Kamin, American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Aurelia Edwards,, Elite Island Resorts, Hamilton: An American Musical, HBO, Helen Lin, Heyday, James Mitchell, Jane’s Carousel, Jim Miller for NJ Chopper, John Carlson, Jordana Blitz, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Linda Facci, Mike Fleming, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York Yankees, Obies, Paul Massey, Rahul Tripathi, Redeye Grill, Rubin Museum of Art, Second Stage Theater, Sesame Street, Stella 34 Trattoria, The Bushwick Starr, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Morgan Library & Museum, U.S. Open, Patrick Vassel, Village Voice, Whitney Museum of American Art

Past Play Readings have featured works by such renowned playwrights as Lynn Nottage, Katori Hall, Tracey Scott Wilson, Ike Holter, and Marcus Gardley.  Past Play Reading actors include Uzo Aduba, Cynthia Nixon, Aja Naomi King, Auli’i Cravalho, John Slattery, Edie Falco, Anika Noni Rose, Loretta Devine, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Beau Bridges, Bernadette Peters, and Courtney B. Vance, to name a few.

Want to be involved in our 2019 Benefit? Please contact Gabrielle Gilliam, Director of Development, at or (646) 992-8369.