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Honorees Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are Hysterical

By Julie Fink
Posted On Dec 09, 2015
Honorees Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are Hysterical


Thou shall be awesometh at the 25th Annual Simply Shakespeare Benefit where New You was honored to speak with famed actors Rita Wilson and award winning husband Tom Hanks. The red carpet was dazzled with stars including Jason Alexander, Martin Short, Bette Midler, William Shatner and Christina Applegate all for a great cause. The 25th Annual Shakespeare benefit supports the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles (SCLA) whose mission is to empower youth through the works of William Shakespeare.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Arrive at the 25th Annual Simply Shakespeare Benefit Reading of 'Twelfth Night'
SANTA MONICA, LOS ANGELES, CA. – DECEMBER 08: Honorees Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson arrive at the 25th Annual Simply Shakespeare Benefit Reading of ‘Twelfth Night’.
Jason Alexander shows his support at the Simply Shakespeare Benefit in Los Angeles, California and performs to perfection!
Jason Alexander shows his support at the Simply Shakespeare Benefit in Los Angeles, California and performs to perfection!
Christina Applegate, looking gorgeous atThe Shakespeare Center Of Los Angeles Presents The 25th Annual Simply Shakespeare Benefit.
Christina Applegate, looking gorgeous at The Shakespeare Center Of Los Angeles.

SCLA presented its 25th Annual Simply Shakespeare benefit reading of “Twelfth Night” directed by Ben Donenberg, last night on Tuesday, December 8 at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

This year’s event honors long-time Shakespeare Center supporters Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks for their 25-year commitment to bringing the works of William Shakespeare at no charge to the Los Angeles youth community. 25 YEARS! How amazing is that?!

The enchanting Rita Wilson speaks to New You about her support and love for the program saying, “We are thrilled to be honored even though we don’t do it to be honored. We do it because it’s a great organization that helps out kids, keeps them off the street, teaches them Shakespeare and relates it to their own lives. We have a Veterans training program with the VA who are being trained to do jobs in the theater.”

Okay, this is officially the coolest thing I’ve come across. An organization that literally gets kids off the streets and into the theater, learning Shakespeare, opening up their true gifts and creativity! Not only that but hiring vets! I’m floored.

Bridge of Spies star Tom Hanks goes on to reminisce of how it all started, “I was just in the audience and it was at a small room at the Pasadena Playhouse, about 50 people were there and it was a very respected reading of “Twelfth Night”. A couple years later Marty Short and Mike Myers did it on the Paramount Theater on the lot and all Hell busted loose!”

“And Sally Field!,” Rita throws out.

“And Sally Field was there too! And they broke every rule and now it’s become this ‘other thing’ that we now do for sold out crowds,” Hanks says proudly.

So even after 25 years of being involved, performing and supporting the Simply Shakespeare event, Ms. Wilson adds, “I feel new this year.”

“Like New You!” we chime in, of course.

“I ought to look at your mic more often for cues…” funny man Hanks says.

The interview ends with some encouragement and a few laughs. Hanks pushes our millennial youth to go see a great production of Shakespeare that ‘isn’t medicine or a chore’. He said there are great, valuable, fabulously vivid productions of Shakespeare out there…

“My life was forever changed after I saw a production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ at the American Conservatory Theater and I said, how do I become one of those up there on that stage?”

“You wanted to become a New You,” Rita jokes.

Stop it you two! Hysterical. Congratulations on their commitment to this organization and their personal journeys in acting, theater and charity. So in love with them both.

About Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

SCLA offers many dynamic and powerful programs to youth and United States Veterans, but here are just a few:

“Will Power to Youth” is an award-winning one of a kind youth development, employment and empowerment program that hires young people ages 15-21 living at the poverty threshold from the Los Angeles area. Youth are hired full time for 7 weeks to produce and perform an adaptation of a Shakespeare play that incorporates their thoughts and feelings into Shakespeare’s text.

“Veterans in Art” program represents an innovation in veterans programming that explores how the arts can contribute in a meaningful way in the efforts to assist veterans to recover and reintegrate into mainstream Los Angeles civilian life.

There is so much more to check out about this incredible organization so please visit www.ShakespeareCenter.org.