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Best Actor Oscar and SAG Award Winner Rami Malek Reads The Empty Pot for SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Storyline Online®

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The 2019 Best Actor Oscar and SAG Award winner Rami Malek is the newest reader for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s children’s literacy program Storyline Online®(storylineonline.net). Malek reads The Empty Pot (www.storylineonline.net/books/the-empty-pot/), written and illustrated by Demi, and published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

A beloved Chinese folk tale about honesty rewarded, The Empty Pot is the story of a young Chinese boy named Ping who loves flowers and can make anything grow. When the Emperor needs a successor, he announces a contest among the children to grow the best flower. He gives each child a seed to plant, except unknown to the children the seeds are cooked and are unable to grow. When Ping arrives at the competition as the only child with an empty pot, he is crowned Emperor for his honesty and courage.  

Following his nearly 7-minute reading, Malek shares what he loves about The Empty Pot, “It does allow me to look inside and realize just how much truth means,” says Malek. “Because ultimately the only consequences are feeling like you’re courageous and honorable and a bigger person. And I guarantee you the truth always wins.” He concludes by encouraging his young viewers to “keep telling the truth.”

“We are so excited to have this year’s Oscar and SAG Award winner Rami Malek read The Empty Pot for Storyline Online. Rami’s powerful read aloud of this beautiful book is one that we think children will enjoy all over the world,” says Cyd Wilson, Executive Director of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. “And the story’s valuable message of telling the truth and having the courage to be honest is a timely and important lesson for everyone.

Malek joins Oprah WinfreyViola DavisAllison JanneyChris PineKristen BellJustin TherouxMichelle YeohMarc Maron and dozens more beloved actors who have volunteered their time and talent to read for Storyline Online and inspire a love of reading in children.

An Emmy®-nominated program of the non-profit SAG-AFTRA FoundationStoryline Online® streams 55 videos at no cost to children, parents, and educators worldwide. The site receives over 10 million views every month and is endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers, representing 1.7 million teachers and education professionals.

As with all Storyline Online videos, The Empty Pot comes with a complimentary supplemental activity guide aligned with Common Core Standards that strengthens verbal, written and comprehension skills. Aimed at 1st-2nd grade students, these activities encourage children to engage in critical thinking activities and ponder the themes of the book including honesty, telling the truth and triumph through failure.

In addition to the website, Storyline Online offers a free app for iPhone and Chrome devices.

To watch The Empty Pot and all Storyline Online videos, visit storylineonline.net, and subscribe to youtube.com/storylineonline. Keep up with new videos in 2019 by following @StorylineOnline on Twitterand Storyline Online on Facebook.

Rami Malek reads for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s children’s literacy program Storyline Online® (storylineonline.net).
Photo credit: SAG-AFTRA Foundation

ABOUT THE SAG-AFTRA FOUNDATION
The SAG-AFTRA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides vital assistance and free educational programming to the professionals of SAG-AFTRA while serving the public at large through its award-winning children’s literacy program Storyline Online®. The Foundation relies solely on support from gifts, grants and sponsorships to maintain its free programs. For more information, visit sagaftra.foundation.

Connect with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation
Twitter: @sagaftraFOUND
Instagram: @sagaftraFOUND
Facebook: facebook.com/sagaftrafoundation
YouTube: youtube.com/sagaftrafoundation
Hashtag: #SAGAFTRAfound

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Book Reviews

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Four Award-Winning Musical Theatre Writers Who Turned to Writing Books

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I am so pleased to announce our guest for next Wednesday’s show on April 17th are four award-winning musical theatre writers who turned to writing books.

For a veteran musical theatre dramatist, getting a new musical on is rarely easy, even at the healthiest of times. But when a pandemic stops everything cold—and a restless creative spirit is driven to both keep writing and reach an audience—what can be done? Well, four musical dramatists independently decided to meet the challenge head on with the same answer: Write a book! But their creative paths to near- simultaneous publication would be as unique as the rave-reviewed books themselves. And when they realized that their musical theatre backgrounds cast them as an equally unique quartet…they decided to come full circle back to the theatre community …to tell that story…the story of how their incredible books came to be…which in its way is also a universal story; a story for our time. A story of taking stock, taking a deep breath, taking new steps…and turning the page. Here are our writers:

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David Spencer is an award-winning musical dramatist, author, critic and musical theatre teacher, whose work has been produced in the US, Canada and England. His most well-known credits as lyricist-librettist are two musicals in collaboration with composer Alan Menken: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, based on the novel by Moredecai Richler (original cast album on Ghostlight Records) and Weird Romance (co-librettist: Alan Brennert; original cast album digital-on-demand from Columbia Masterworks). He made his professional debut writing the acclaimed colloquial English-language adaptation of La Bohème for the Public Theatre; and as composer-lyricist wrote scores and orchestrations for Theatreworks/USA’s young audience versions of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables (librettist-director for both: Rob Barron). His published books are The Musical Theatre Writer’s Survival Guide (Heinemann), the acting edition of Weird Romance (Samuel French)—and, pulpsmith proud, Passing Fancy, an original novel based on the TV series Alien Nation (PocketBooks). He recently completed a draft of his first straight play, Spirit Run (story by him and Jerry James).

David is an ex officio steering committee and faculty member of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where he taught for over 25 years, and has also taught at HB Studio, Workshop Studio Theater in New York; and Goldsmith’s College and BML in London.

His book is The Novelizers: An Affectionate History of Media Adaptations and Originals, Their Astonishing Authors—and the Art of the Craft

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 Stephen Cole is an award-winning musical theatre writer whose shows have been produced from New York City to London to the Middle East and Australia. His off-Broadway musical with Matthew Ward, After The Fair, was nominated for the Outer Critic’s Circle Award for Best Musical and was subsequently produced in London to great acclaim. The Night Of The Hunter won the prestigious Edward Kleban Award and was produced in New York City, Dallas, and San Francisco, where it was nominated for several Bay Area Theatre Awards. The award-winning 1998 concept CD features Ron Raines, Sally Mayes, and Dorothy Loudon. Saturday Night At Grossinger’s has had successful runs in Texas (starring Gavin MacLeod), Los Angeles, and Florida. Broadway legend Chita Rivera toured in Casper, and Hal Linden and Dee Hoty starred in the world premiere of his musical adaptation of Dodsworth. In 2005, Stephen was commissioned to write Aspire, the first American musical to premiere in the Middle East. This experience resulted in another musical about the creation of that show entitled The Road To Qatar!, produced to rave reviews and awards Off-Broadway, in London, and at the Edinburgh Festival, garnering a Best Musical nomination. Among his other produced shows are Rock Odyssey, which played to hundreds of thousands of kids for ten seasons of productions at the Adrienne Arscht Center in Miami, and Merman’s Apprentice, presented in concert at Birdland in New York City, followed by an all-star cast album on Jay Records, and an acclaimed premiere production in Sonoma, CA in 2019. Stephen’s latest critically acclaimed musical is Goin’ Hollywood. Stephen’s published books include That Book About That Girl and I Could Have Sung All Night, the Marni Nixon story, currently in development as a feature film from Amazon. Stephen has also written several published stories and his real-life friendships with Ethel Merman and Mary Martin resulted in this, his first novel. Visit www.stephencolewriter.org.