Each month, Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This month, we speak with three celebrities: David Alan Basche, Tracie Thoms and Blythe Danner. They tell us about their work with Women’s Expressive Theater, a nonprofit production company that aims to challenge female stereotypes and promote gender equality in the entertainment industry.
WET promotes equal opportunity for women in the entertainment industry through original script production and mentorship programs. On Feb. 9, WET hosted its annual LOVE benefit of six "love-themed" mini-plays. Proceeds from the event support WET’s 10th season of production.
Cast of Characters:
David Alan Basche stars in USA Network’s "The Starter Wife," which recently received 10 Emmy Award nominations. David also stars on NBC’s "Lipstick Jungle."
Tracie Thoms appears as narcotics detective Kat Miller on the CBS crime series "Cold Case" and starred in Chris Columbus’ film rendition of "Rent."
Blythe Danner, an Emmy and Tony award-winning actress, has starred in films such as "Prince of Tides" and "Sylvia." Danner is active in various charities and serves on the Board of Environmental Activists, the board of directors of the Environmental Media Association and contributes her time regularly to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
David Alan Basche
Q: What brings you out here tonight for this event? Why did you decide to get involved with WET?
Basche: Women, women, women, women!
Q: When there are so many organizations out there, fighting for dollars in this bad economy. Why should people support this one?
Basche: There’s so many reasons. I think in particular, the work that The Women’s Expressive Theater does with kids, with young women, with teenage women, teaching them to really scrutinize what they see in the media, and that they don’t have to buy into those choices, and things like that …
Q: How long have you been in the entertainment industry?
Thoms: I guess if I count out of school, just doing it, about nine years.
Q: In those nine years, have you noticed any changes in the industry for women because of organizations like WET?
Thoms: You know it’s funny, because right now we’re in this interesting place in our industry where there are a lot of male-oriented movies. I mean, even romantic comedies right now are male-oriented because you know Judd Apatow is taking over romantic comedy. Through organizations like WET that really helps foster new works, and we crave those because at the end of the day there are more of us than there are of them.Video: Women's Expressive Theater LOVE Benefit
Why should we have stories told about us? So we all really gravitate toward organizations like this to tell our story. Because our stories actually are interesting, and fun, and funny, and touching and everything.
Q: You came into this performance late, to cover for someone who was sick. How did that feel, having very little time to prepare?
Thoms: There’s a funny thing that happens. If you have very little time to prepare, you don’t have time to obsess about it. You don’t have time. My only concern was, do I have to memorize this? And they were like, no, everybody is reading. And I’m like, OK, I’m fine. I don’t have time to obsess about it. I don’t have time to over think it. I’m just gonna go out, have a good time.
I think this organization is great. I’ve actually talked to some kids for them, with risk-takers a couple of years ago, I talked to some teenagers. It was really just a fulfilling moment in my life. I told them when they called, I’ll do anything for you that I can. I was in L.A., and they were like, we’ll fly you in. I’m on a plane, I’ll do whatever you need me to do. So I was so happy to be here for them today.
Q: Have women’s roles in the entertainment industry changed, either for the better or for the worse, since you have been in the industry?
Danner: I think it has evolved into something much better and much stronger than when I began. We see women taking a great variety of roles now, and strong women, strong roles. I think it has really improved.
Q: Is there one particular moment in your career that you felt you really had arrived as a woman in the entertainment industry?
Danner: I don’t know about that. I think that I arrived as an actor in the industry, and I was quite young, and really stepped back, and motherhood played a major role in my life after that. I just feel like I’ve been very fortunate. When I’ve stepped both feet into it, I’ve gotten some good roles. And it hasn’t been the priority of my life.
Q: Any advice for young women starting out in this business?
Danner: Oh, gosh. Just everything that comes along, grasp and try it. Don’t be too selective. Just jump in. Short of being a stripper, take anything that comes along. And maybe even that if it works.
Interviewed by Giacinta Pace, NBC News
© 2013 NBCNews.com Reprints