On July 20, 1969, most of the world was riveted to their television sets, watching as the Apollo 11 Lunar Module landed on the surface of the Moon. The landing was followed several hours later by U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong becoming the first man to ever set foot upon the lunar surface. Now, half a century later, a team of astronauts, journalists, and actors will remember that landmark moment in history by taking part in the multimedia event “One Giant Leap: The Apollo 11 Moon Landing, 50 Years On.”
The brainchild of New York Times science writer Alan Burdick, the event will feature a star-studded reading of a new short play by Tony Award-winning playwright J.T. Rogers. Commissioned especially for this occasion, the play interweaves transcripts of the Apollo 11 mission, New York Times coverage of the Apollo flight, and excerpts from interviews with the men and women involved in the landing.
The work will be directed by Tony-winner Bartlett Sher, and feature performances by Lauren Ambrose, Jeff Daniels, Danai Gurira, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Dakin Matthews, and Arian Moayed.
Following the performance, Michael Barbaro, host of the New York Times podcast “The Daily,” will host an onstage conversation with Michael Collins, the command module pilot on the Apollo 11 space flight; Peggy Whitson, the first female commander of the International Space Station; and Poppy Northcutt, a mathematician who worked on the Apollo program and was the first female engineer to work in NASA’s Mission Control Center, during Apollo 8.
All those attending “One Giant Leap” will also have the opportunity to experience an interactive virtual reality module that transports them onto a simulated recreation of the moon’s surface. The exhibit, which will be available for use both before and after the reading and discussion, was created with photographs taken by the Apollo 11 astronauts. The virtual reality activation is included for ticket holders and is open to the general public from 12 noon to 7 p.m.
Additional information can be found at https://timesevents.nytimes.com/onegiantleap
Judd Hollander is a reviewer for Stagebuzz.com and a member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org