Celebrities to commemorate 9/11 anniversary with benefit reading of '110 Stories'

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.

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  • Marianna

    I had some business to take care of at the office in my kids’ school. As I was coming out of the building and making my way across the parking lot this wild eyed man erupted out of his front door, “Have you heard?! Have you heard?! We’re at war! World Trade Center….Pentagon….Terrorists….George Bush…Planes grounded…Terrorists….We’re at war!”. The words just came tumbling out in a non stop stream. I thought he was a doomsday nut and was going to call the police when I got home to go over and tell him to cool it before the children were let out for the day. I didn’t figure they needed to be exposed to and scared by that type of nonsense. As I was dialing I turned the television on. And then I just stood there with my hand clapped over my mouth and tears running down my face. Couldn’t get my head around it. Ten years later and it still feels like yesterday.

  • LOL

    Bush is reading My Pet Goat again to commemorate his inaction that day.

    • etm

      LOL!!

  • MaggieQuack

    The story I will never forget is the disabled man in a wheelchair whose friend stayed with him as the towers collapsed. I still tear up when I think of it.

  • Caiti

    My mom was working at a Veteran’s hospital when the news broke. She still talks about how all the vets stood up and said that they were ready to go fight. Breaks my heart.

  • ibis1113

    i remember exactly where i was when i was told about what happened at the Twin Towers. i was only in third grade when it happened. we were about to go out to recess at my private school when my principal, Dr. Lindsay, had announced for the entire school to meet in the cafeteria. i sat next to my best friends and we were all wondering what was going on. Dr. Lindsay tearfully told us there was an attack in New York at the Twin Towers and we would not be going outside for recess for some understandable reasons. i went to a private Jewish day school in Columbus, Ohio, where there are places that could be targeted and especially since we were all Jewish. About an hour later, my mom picked me and my two brothers up from school after getting a scary phone call from my dad at work telling her to go get us and to stay at the house. once i got home, i turned on CNN and i saw the footage of the Twin Towers collapsing. i could hear the terrifying screams of the people below and see the people jumping from the higher floors just to escape the collapsing buildings. i began to cry hysterically because i couldn’t understand why someone could be so evil and do something so bad to innocent people. i will NEVER forget this memory.

  • ibis1113

    also, to add to my comment from above, i learned just about a month ago that when my uncle and aunt were living in New Jersey (which was during 9/11), my aunt’s mother was trying to fly back to her home but missed her flight, so she had to take the next flight out. well, it turns out that the flight she missed was Flight 93. that flight was hijacked and was heading to either the pentagon or the White house, but the passengers on board fought back against the hijackers and crashed somewhere in Pennsylvania, where all the passengers and hijackers were killed in the crash. it’s scary and strange how those things work out.

    • etm

      Ibis, your posts gave me goosebumps. It really is strange how things work out, and how something so simple as missing a flight can be a life or death event.

  • stickittotheman

    I remember looking at the calendar that morning before heading off to work. My birthday was coming up and I was looking at all the fine print on the calendar for the special occasions taking place that month (Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah, etc.) and I recall actually thinking “Nothing ever happens on September 11″ – man, did I ever eat those words! I still get a funny feeling when I hear a low-flying jet. Jets stopped being just transportation. A year later I was working in the Middle East, and it was nice to experience Muslim culture without all the CNN/media hysteria attached. Certainly a defining day.

  • Ava

    My son was born that day. About an hour before the attack. There are no words for the emotions that we felt that day. No words. To have something so glorious to celebrate and then something so terrible to grieve all within a couple hours.

    • etm

      Wow, that’s incredible. Thank God you weren’t in NY (unless you were?).

  • Matt

    My mom was so freaked out. She went to the bank and withdrew as much as she could, because she thought the financial infastructure would collapse.

    Lol, like a few hundred dollars in paper cash are going to get you far if that happens.

  • Lindsay

    I had just finished my first week as a freshman in college. I could see the towers burning from my campus in NJ. Cell phones were dark for several hours. After my initial shock, I went to a hospital to donate blood. It was oddly calm. I echo the sentiments that it really does feel like yesterday…

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