iO WEST RAISES MONEY FOR INDUSTRY SUPPORT FUND: WGA and SAG Members Come Together for Charity and Union Solidarity

Cast from THE OFFICE: Kate Flannery, Angela Kinsey, Oscar Nunez and Ed Helms, along with Kate Walsh (GREY'S ANATOMY, PRIVATE PRACTICE), Mo Collins (MAD TV), and Robert Ben Garant (RENO 911) join the cast of the "Armando Show" at iO Theater to raise money for the Industry Support Fund.

Cast from THE OFFICE backstage at the show:

Kate Walsh:

Robert Ben Garant:

A special message from organizer and WGA member Ed Lee:

For five weeks beginning January 7th, Los Angeles improv theater iO West raised awareness about the WGA Strike and donated proceeds from its signature piece THE ARMANDO SHOW to benefit the Writers Guild Foundation Industry Support Fund. On Monday, February 4th, this series of performances reached a climactic finale as Kate Walsh (Private Practice) and Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911) hosted a standing-room-only crowd, backed by comedic improvisation by the regular Armando Show troupe, THE OFFICE cast members Kate Flannery, Ed Helms, Angela Kinsey, and Oscar Nunez, MADtv's Mo Collins, WGA members Kate Purdy, Adrian Wenner, and myself, Ed Lee.

Each of the Armando/Strike shows were sold out, thanks in large part to the publicity garnered by United Hollywood. I'm thrilled to report that these shows, in addition to proceeds from iO West's TALK SHOW: THE TALK SHOW, hosted by WGA members Jordan Rubin and Brent Bradshaw, HARDLY WORKING, featuring Cindy Caponera, Jeff Garlin, Dana Gould, Bob Odenkirk and Brett Paesel, and STAND UP AND STRIKE, hosted by Lou DiMaggio, have generated $5000 in proceeds to the Industry Support Fund.

Recognition and thanks are due to James Grace, Artistic Director of the iO West Theater. Not only has James been the chief organizer of all the fundraising shows at iO West, he has also been encouraging iO West performers and students to join our picket lines every Monday. James has gone to great lengths to mobilize an entire theater behind our cause, and his enthusiasm and hard work are appreciated.

Thanks to Jordan Rubin, Brent Bradshaw, Cindy Caponera, Jeff Garlin, Dana Gould, Bob Odenkirk Brett Paesel, Lou DiMaggio, and Paula Killen for organizing and performing in their respective iO West Industry Support fundraisers.

Also, on behalf of the theater, I'd like to express gratitude to our fantastic Armando hosts: Justine Bateman, Melanie Chartoff, Drew Carey, Ron Livingston, Bob Odenkirk, Kate Walsh, and Robert Ben Garant.

Finally, extra-special thanks to the Armando players and the guest improvisers from WGA and SAG who were kind enough to donate their time and talent during this run: Dan Bakkedahl, Ike Barinholtz, Craig Cackowski, Betty Cahill, Cindy Caponera, Mike Coen, Mike Coleman, Mo Collins, Bob Dassie, Jamie Denbo, Jeff Drake, Josh DuBose, Kate Flannery, Scott Gimple, James Grace, Ed Helms, Dave Hill, Angela Kinsey, Jack McBrayer, Seamus McCarthy, Wendy Molyneux, Oscar Nuñez, Joe O'Brien, Jason Pardo, Kate Purdy, John Reynolds, Miles Stroth, Jean Villepique, Adrian Wenner, and Irene White. It was a great privilege to perform with such unbelievably gifted improvisers during this run.

As a member of the iO West community as well as the WGA, I'm proud to have played a part in helping the theater stage these shows. We have provided people with entertainment during tough times, raised money for out-of-work colleagues, and most importantly, demonstrated WGA/SAG solidarity and support. I'm happy that our strike seems to be winding down to a conclusion, an the success of this monumental group effort only reinforces my strong belief that we've all been in this together.

Thanks for your support.

Ed Lee

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