Martin Sheen Stars in One-Night Only Fundraiser Supporting Geffen Playhouse and Hazelden

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Reading of Record-Breaking Play Bill W. and Dr. Bob to Feature Post-Show Q&A with Cast Members and Playwrights Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey; Monday, June 27, 8 p.m.

“Our dream has been to find a way to run this show in perpetuity so it becomes an icon in New York, and then to use the revenues for a national college tour to combat binge drinking. Thanks to Hazelden and the Geffen, that dream is about to come true."

Award-winning actor Martin Sheen will appear for one-night only as part of a reading of Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey’s record-breaking play Bill W. and Dr. Bob. A joint fundraiser for the Geffen Playhouse and Hazelden – a nonprofit leader in addiction treatment for more than 60 years – the evening will feature a reading of the play, a post-show discussion with the cast and playwrights and a dessert reception. Directed by Jenny Sullivan, Bill W. and Dr. Bob recounts the story of Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith, two men whose friendship led ultimately to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. Together with their wives, who went on to develop Al-Anon Family Groups, their discoveries have touched and saved countless lives since the programs’ inception. The evening, which takes place Monday, June 27 at 8 p.m., will feature a full cast of six actors.

Bill W. and Dr. Bob debuted in 2007 with an award-winning run Off-Broadway before moving across the country with record-breaking performances in 26 states. In 2012, Bill W. and Dr. Bob will return to New York with a new model: the production will be completely supported by tax-exempt donations to Hazelden. The plan is that the profits from these performances will support a national touring company which would travel to college campuses to fight the epidemic of binge drinking and provide scholarships to youth for treatment at Hazelden. The Geffen Playhouse reading marks the kick-off of this long-term endeavor.

“In 1986, as doctors working with alcoholics and addicts, my wife and I stumbled across this astonishing story – a story not just about two drunks who were going to die and found a way, together, to live, but more – a great American success story about the suffering of isolation and the healing power of good connection,” said playwright Samuel Shem. “Our dream – and our service – has been to find a way to run this show in perpetuity so it becomes an icon in New York, and then to use the revenues for a national college tour to combat binge drinking. Now, thanks to Hazelden and the Geffen, our dream is about to come true. Our gratitude to you all.”

Dr. Samuel Shem and Dr. Janet Surrey, spouses, have been on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for many years and co-authored We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues Between Women and Men. Shem is the author of many novels, including the medical classic The House of God and The Spirit of the Place.

Tickets to this one-night only reading range from $75 to $250 and include the reading, Q&A and post-show coffee/dessert reception. A limited number of VIP tickets include prime orchestra seating as well as an exclusive meet-and-greet with the actors and playwrights.

Written by: Samuel Shem & Janet Surry
Directed by: Jenny Sullivan
Monday, June 27, 2011, 8pm
Tickets: $75 - $250
Box Office: 310-208-5454

Please note:
This work does not imply affiliation with or endorsement by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

About the Geffen Playhouse
The Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and musicals, the Geffen Playhouse continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company is helmed by Producing Director and President of the Board Gilbert Cates, Artistic Director Randall Amey, Managing Director Ken Novice and Chairman of the Board Frank Mancuso. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen Playhouse welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year, and maintains an extensive education and outreach program, designed to engage young people and the community at large in the arts. For more information, please visit

About Hazelden
Hazelden, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1949, helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. Built on decades of knowledge and experience, Hazelden offers a comprehensive approach to addiction that addresses the full range of patient, family, and professional needs, including treatment and continuing care for youth and adults, research, higher education, public education and advocacy, and publishing. It has facilities in Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York, and Florida. Learn more at For more information about the journey of Bill W. and Dr. Bob, please visit


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