The Practice's Lisa Gay Hamilton wants to get the African-American community talking about The Vagina Monologues. Hamilton, with the help of pal Rosie Perez, is producing a benefit performance of Eve Ensler's enduring hit play geared toward women of color. V-Day Harlem 2002 will take place at New York's famed Apollo Theatre on March 30.
The 37-year-old actress was moved to act after appearing in last year's all-star V-Day benefit at Madison Square Garden. "I was disappointed as an artist to see that the audience was predominantly white women," she laments to TV Guide Online. "That's just terrible. The Vagina Monologues benefits all women especially women of color. So, I thought, 'Perhaps we need to take the mountain to Mohammed.'"
Hamilton worked extensively with Ensler to assemble the show's most diverse cast yet. Among the headliners: Lynn Whitfield, Salma Hayek, Oz's Lauren Velez and supermodel Naomi Campbell. "Casting was difficult," she confesses. "Everyone wanted to be in it, and saying who gets to do what was hard."
Recalling the first time she saw Monologues
performed, Hamilton confides that the experience profoundly changed her life. "Watching the monologues, I had to stop and look at my own life as a woman, from sexual encounters and masturbation to how I actually feel about my body," she reveals. "Hopefully, [V-Day Harlem 2002] will lead [a new group of women] to reach out and open up."