Friday, February 4, 2011

PinkSpeak: Breast Cancer Journeys in Poetry & Prose with host Jill Eikenberry - Feb. 10

The Inspired Word Presents PinkSpeak: Breast Cancer Journeys in Poetry & Prose - a fundraiser for the Young Survival Coalition: Young women facing breast cancer together.

It will be hosted by Golden Globe award-winning actress and former L.A. Law star Jill Eikenberry, a breast cancer survivor herself, and feature 2005 American Idol finalist Anwar Robinson, OBIE award winning playwright Susan Miller, singer/writer Khadijah Carter, author/poet Pamilla deLeon-Lewis, actress Alice King, award-winning playwright Andrea Lepcio, actress/poet Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin, authors Jane Kelley ("Nature Girl") and Michelle Malavet ("Cancerland and The Other Side of Sick"), actress Shona Tucker, spoken word poet Joanna Hoffman, and three-time Fringenyc award winning performer Cyndi Freeman.

100% of the proceeds will be donated to YSC and the event is dedicated to the memory of Dorothy Geffner, who died of breast cancer in 1973 at the age of 52.

When: Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011

Where: (Le) Poisson Rouge (downstairs Gallery Bar)
158 Bleecker Street (between Thompson and Sullivan)
Manhattan, New York City
Phone: (212) 504-3474

Time: 6:30pm

Miminum Donation: $20 (though you are welcome to give more)

Must be 21 years of age or older. Please make sure to bring ID.



Jill Eikenberry, diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986, is an award-winning actress and former star of NBC’s long-running hit series "LA Law." Winning both a Golden Globe and Obie Award, as well as earning four Emmy nominations, Eikenberry has appeared in such classic films as “An Unmarried Woman," " "A Night Full of Rain,” and “Arthur,” and her extensive career on and off Broadway includes starring in “"Life Under Water;” "Moonchildren;” “The Beggars Opera;” "All Over Town," directed by Dustin Hoffman; "Save Grand Central;” and Wendy Wasserstein’s "Uncommon Women and Others.” She also co-produced a one-hour documentary for NBC entitled "Destined to Live," which dealt with the emotional aspects of breast cancer, from diagnosis to recovery. It was honored with a Humanitas Award.

Featured Writers/Performers

Anwar Robinson is a singer most recognized as one of the top finalists in television's American Idol 2005 competition. He will perform a song he wrote and arranged in honor of people who have won and/or lost their battles with breast cancer, “Chosen.”

Susan Miller is an OBIE award winning playwright and Guggenheim Fellow whose work includes the critically acclaimed one-woman play, My Left Breast (Obie), which premiered in Louisville’s Humana Festival and has been performed across the U.S, Canada, and France. Her play A Map of Doubt And Rescue won The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize; and she received an OBIE for Nasty Rumors And Final Remarks. She’s been produced at The Public Theatre, Second Stage, Naked Angels, NYStage & Film, and The Mark Taper Forum, among others. Her articles have appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, American Theatre, The Dramatist, Girlfriends, The Bark, and MS. Miller was a Consulting Producer/writer on the first season of The L Word as well as a Story Editor on ABC’s landmark series, “Thirtysomething.” She’s written original screenplays for Disney, Universal, Warner Brothers, and her short film, The Grand Design, was directed by and starred Eric Stoltz and Frances Conroy. She is currently Executive Producing and writing, along with Tina CesaWard, the hit dramatic web series, Anyone But Me, which airs on and with fans in France, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Greece, Argentina, and the U.K. Susan lives in New York City with her partner and their dog, Henree. Her son is also a writer, living and working in L.A.. For more info on Ms. Miller, please visit

Cyndi Freeman is a three time Fringenyc award winning performer as well as a playwright, and theatrical producer. She has created and produced several solo shows. Including: I Kissed Dash Riprock, which was performed as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at the Assembly Rooms, and won a "Best in Festival Award for Excellence" at the 2002 New York International Fringe Festival. I Kissed Dash Riprock also enjoyed success in Boston, toured the UK with Guy Masterson Productions and was presented by Xaviera Hollander in Amsterdam. Inside Cherry Pitz was presented at the Edinburgh Fringe at The Gilded Balloon, in NYC at The Midtown International Theatre Festival and at The Cherry Lane Theatre as part of the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival. Greetings From Hollywood was spotlighted on CNN, received a "Best in Fringe Festival" award at the NY International Fringe Festival, and was voted "Best New Play of New England -1998” by the Independent Reviewers of New England. Greetings From Hollywood was also presented at the Edinburgh Fringe at the Gilded Balloon. She lives in NYC. For more info, please visit

Shona Tucker is the Acting Professor at Vassar College. She recently finished performing in Almost Maine with the Half Moon Theatre Company and Eclipsed at Yale Repertory Theatre. She spent three years as a company member at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, acting in such plays as Fences, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Gem of the Ocean and Bus Stop. Her Off Broadway theater credits include: New York Theater Workshop, The Actors Center, Lincoln Center Directors' Lab, The Public Theater, Circle in the Square, Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, and La MaMa.. She has worked at numerous regional theaters including Williamstown Theater Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Stageworks/Hudson, Arena Stage, The Acting Company, and American Conservatory Theater. She can be seen in the upcoming film shorts: Framing Delores, North Country and the short WALK THE FISH which in the feature film Cosmopolitan and the upcoming FOX television series, “Lights Out”. Other television and film credits include: Preaching to the Choir: On the One , Third Watch , New York Undercover , Law and Order , One Life to Live , and Trinity. A Schomburg Fellow and Fulbright Scholar, Shona earned a BS from Northwestern University and MFA in Acting at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts.

Jane Kelley is the author of NATURE GIRL, which Booklist called “funny, fresh, and charming.” The novel tells the story of how a New York City girl and her dog survive alone on the Appalachian Trail. Her next novel, THE GIRL BEHIND THE GLASS, will be published in August 2011. She has also written dozens of science and social studies books for children. Jane grew up in Mequon, Wisconsin and is a graduate of Northwestern University. In March 2001, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she is grateful to be healthy and happy to have this opportunity to help others who are coping with cancer. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and her daughter.

Pamilla deLeon-Lewis is the author of Smiling Thru The Tears: A Breast Cancer Survivor Odyssey and Side Effects: The Untold story. Miss deLeon-Lewis is a Motivational Speaker, a certified Life Coach, a certified Laughter Yoga Teacher and the Brooklyn Team Leader of the Legislative Ambassadors for the ACS; she is a performance poet who is passionate about empowering survivors as she raises breast cancer awareness globally.

Khadijah Carter, diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 at the age of 28, is an inspirational singer, prolific writer, and spokesperson for breast cancer survivors. She has traveled nationally and internationally on behalf of the Young Survival Coalition to bring more awareness to the healthcare industry about young women with breast cancer. In 2007 and 2008, she was a model for the Avon Foundation’s print PSA Breast Cancer campaign, which was featured in The Oprah Magazine, People, Mademoiselle, Essence, and Elle. She is often asked by the media to share her testimony and has been profiled on The CBS Early Show, BET, The Montel Williams Show, and others. She released a CD: “This Day: A Compilation of Inspirational Songs & Poems”; proceeds benefit various non-profit organizations. For more information, please see:

Michelle Malavet, writer and illustrator of Cancerland and The Other Side of Sick, was diagnosed with breast cancer the day after the 2008 Superbowl. A week later her father was diagnosed with stage IV renal cancer. During the time they spent together in treatment, he demonstrated to her what it is to live with cancer. He passed away in May 2009. Today, she is an impassioned young adult survivor. As a designer, her works span the realms of print and digital media, industrial, exhibit, and stage design. Her multi-media art was exhibited in Visual Diaries: Snapshot of the Young Adult Cancer Experience at the West Chelsea Arts Center. A collection of her poems and flash fiction was featured by the NY Writers Coalition. She is also the founder of Dream On, an organization committed to serving the life purpose of cancer survivors in the world. She lives in Astoria, NY with her cat. She can be contacted at

Andrea Lepcio’s Looking for the Pony was a finalist for the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award along with Ruined, The Orphan Home Cycle, Circle Mirror Transformation and The Brother/Sister plays. The play was also a finalist for the NEA Outstanding New American Play Award. A third production was presented by Venus Theatre in October of 2010 and Detroit Repertory Theatre will produce a fourth production in July 2011. Also upcoming: Room 16 (book by Andrea Lepcio, music by Stephen Sislen, lyrics by Stephen Sislen and Ben H. Winters) will be presented at the Festival of New Artists at Goodspeed Opera House. In April, Welfleet Harbor Actors Theater will workshop Tunnel Vision (formerly Sad, Mad, Glad, Bad). Her screenplay, A September Spring, won the Sloan Foundation Dramatic Writing Award. A two-time finalist for the Heideman Award, her short plays and monologues have been published in Plays and Playwrights 2003, Estrogenius, lichen and by Smith & Kraus.Since 2004 she has been the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program Director and was a visiting faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University. She holds an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing, Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic.

Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin is an award winning actor, poet/spoken word -recording artist via her own production company Talking Poems and Storytelling Productions. Gha’il performs her one-woman show with live musical accompaniment throughout the tri-state area and the country bringing to light the inner complexities of every day characters with raw simplicity and humor. From classrooms to college campuses, nightlife venues to Lincoln Center, The Schomberg, The Knitting Factory and Symphony Space of New York she motivates, uplifts and inspires audiences with words and phrases that stick to your ribs. Talking Poems specializes in creating personalized custom-made poetry (celebrating the greatness within) for every occasion, including weddings, anniversaries and memorial heirlooms for home-going celebrations. Also director and facilitator of various creative workshops and performances, she allows participants of all ages to “project their inner voices." Gha’il is both the visual image and voice of spoken word in collaboration with filmmaker Al Santana in the WBGH Lab Series film titled Reparation Blues, PBS and WLIW. She is also the voice on radio airwaves with her poem titled She got burned, a PSA promoting domestic violence awareness through Safe Horizons of New York. Her debut CD Spiritual Eclipse/ Sacred Moments on a String of Words is a collage of music and spoken-word, a portrait of self-discovery, self-love and renewal...she is the recipient of the 2010 Soul Purpose Award and currently on the public speaking circuit, raising her voice to ignite “self-empowerment and creativity." “She’s authentic, talented, mesmerizing and a breath of fresh air," Les Brown, author and speaker, says of her. For more info, please visit

Actress Alice King recently appeared in the 78th Street Theater Lab and New York International Fringe Festival productions of RECONSTRUCTION, for which Backstage lauded her "organic, at times even palpable, anger, regret, and emotional and sexual passion" performance in the role of a woman who's recently undergone breast reconstruction. She is a member of Circle East Lab (formerly Circle Rep), a former student of Uta Hagen, and an alumnus of Actors Theatre of Louisville. A cancer survivor herself, Alice is the CEO of AliceKingBooks.

The daughter of a breast cancer survivor, Joanna Hoffman is a spoken word poet originally from Maryland, where she was a part of three DC/Baltimore National Poetry Slam teams. She moved to New York three years ago, and has been a member of the 2009 and 2010 Spoken Word Almanac Project. She is the 2011 Women of the World Representative for NYC Urbana, and she currently works at a maternal health non-profit organization.


Inspired Word Staff

Mike Geffner

Brigitte Viellieu-Davis
Artistic Director/Associate Producer

Marvin Mendlinger
Assistant Director

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