Like every American old enough to remember, I can recall where I was when it happened. I was at my desk in study hall that September morning in 2001 when young, tearful Mrs. Aberle announced that the World Trade Center towers had been attacked. I won’t ever forget the way her voice quavered when she said it — I couldn’t if I tried.
We all have harrowing memories of Sept. 11. Ten years later, though, the New York Says Thank You Foundation has found a way to turn these painful memories into positive change. This September, Manhattan’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy by hosting a star-studded benefit reading of 110 Stories, Sarah Tuft’s inspiring original play about 9/11. The cast list, while subject to change, is currently set to include Billy Crudup, Melissa Leo, Edie Falco, Susan Sarandon, Chris Noth and Kathleen Turner, among others, and the performers will all share their firsthand accounts of Sept. 11.
Tuft’s play, which she describes in a release as “the human side of history, without politics and agenda, giving voice to those who experienced [9/11] directly,” was performed in Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse last year as a celebrity benefit for Haiti relief. This year, proceeds will be donated to the New York Says Thank You Foundation, which sends volunteers from New York City all over the United States to help rebuild communities affected by disasters each year on the anniversary of 9/11.
The Tenth Anniversary benefit reading of 110 Stories will take place on Sept. 8 and 9. Advance tickets go on sale this Monday, July 25, and can be purchased at http://www.110storiesplay.com; tickets can also be acquired after August 1 through the Skirball Center box office at 212-352-3101, or online at the Skirball Center website.