More than 75 female entertainers will rally for a live performance of Eve Ensler's acclaimed "The Vagina Monologues" Feb. 10, with proceeds going to the V-Day Fund, which benefits programs aimed at en
More than 75 female entertainers will rally for a live performance of Eve Ensler's acclaimed "The Vagina Monologues" Feb. 10, with proceeds going to the V-Day Fund, which benefits programs aimed at ending violence against women. The one-time celebrity staging at New York's Madison Square Garden is the centerpiece of the fourth annual V-Day campaign and includes special musical performances from Joan Osborne, Phoebe Snow, the long-established female alterna-rock outfit Betty, and Queen Latifah, who will perform at the show's finale.
In key roles in the intense "Monologues" presentation -- a moving and often witty collection of spoken-word accounts focusing on the international plight of violence against women and girls -- are personalities as diverse as Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Glenn Close, Winona Ryder, Calista Flockhart, and Sharon Gless.
V-Day was initiated when "The Vagina Monologues" began a global tour in 1998, highlighted by celebrity benefit performances that year at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, at London's Old Vic in 1999, and in Los Angeles last year. In addition, money has been raised via performances at hundreds of colleges nationwide and through local, national, and international groups that aim to halt violence against women. In its first three years, V-Day has raised more than $1 million.
"These kinds of events are important -- not because a bunch of celebrities are going to get together and change the world but [because] they offer greater visibility to these ideas," Osborne says. "Nothing is going to change overnight, but we need to express these ideas as many times as it takes for change to take place. It's a small part of a large effort, but it's important. With every drop, the glass gets a little fuller."
Osborne will perform one of two songs at the event: either "St. Teresa" from her 1995 debut album, "Relish," or the Bob Dylan composition "To Make You Feel My Love," from her current "Righteous Love." Snow will perform an original song written for the event by Chloe Goodchild, which, at deadline, had not been completed. Betty will perform its self-penned song "Broken."
"The Vagina Monologues" was originally produced in 1996 in New York and opened off-Broadway in October 1999, with Ensler acting out a dozen or so stories collected from interviews she conducted with hundreds of women. Each story focuses on the vagina, ranging from disturbing and affecting accounts to more lighthearted and even uproarious tales.
The show won an Obie Award in 1997, the jury award for the best theater performance at the Aspen Comedy Festival 2000, and was nominated for Drama Desk and Helen Hayes awards. It is currently enjoying a sold-out run at off-Broadway's Westside Theater in Manhattan, with a steady stream of popular and esteemed public figures and entertainers taking part in the play over the years.