WILLIAMSTOWN -- Two of the Williamstown Theatre Festival's summer stars will take time out of their schedules on Sunday to help raise funds for organizations that are near and dear to their hearts.
David Hyde Pierce, who is directing the festival's Main Stage production of "The Importance of Being Earnest," will meet and mingle at a midday reception to benefit the Alzheimer's Association Massachusetts/New Hamp shire Chapter at The Or chards; while Blythe Danner, who is starring in the Nikos Stage production "The Blue Deep," will participate in a question and answer session with Williamstown Film Festival Executive Director Steve Lawson, following a one-night-only screening of her film, "Hello I Must Be Going," at Images Cinema.
Pierce, a national spokesman for the Alzheimer's Asso ciation who is best known for his 11-year run as Niles Crane on NBC's "Frasier," will be available to chat with participants at the benefit, "Acting on Hope," running from 11:30 to 1 p.m. at The Orchards. Pierce will also give a director's talk, highlighting his unique take on the production of "The Importance of Being Earnest," which participants will attend at the theater at 2 p.m.
Tickets for the event are $125 per person, with all funds raised going towards expanding resources, education and training in the county. Tickets can be reserved by calling the Alzheimer's Association at 413-499-0691 or by emailng Marcia.McKenzie@alz.org.
"David Hyde Pierce is very passionate about speaking about Alzheimer's. He lost his grandfather to Alzheimer's and his father began showing signs of dementia before he suffered a stroke and died," Karen Gold, spokeswoman for the Berkshire Alzheimer's Partnership, which is hosting Sunday's event. "He rarely if ever, turns down any invitation to speak about it. He's amazingly generous with his time. When we asked him to do this, since he was in the Berkshires this summer, he didn't even hesitate."
She said the Berkshire Alzheimer's Partnership hopes the funding will allow it to bring an array of programs developed by the Mass achusetts/New Hampshire Chap ter headquarters in Watertown to the county to assist families.
"While we do have programs out here, I don't think people know about all of the resources available to them," Gold said. "We hold a caregiver expo every other year, but it's still difficult to get the word out, since the Berkshires is spread out across a large geographic and rural area. Our goal is to help friends and families in Berkshire County know what resources are available and that they don't have to go through this journey alone."
She said this isn't the first time Pierce has lent his celebrity to the local group.
"About six years ago, the Partnership was doing an event at Tanglewood with Gene Shalit at Tanglwood and we learned that David Hyde Pierce was in Williamstown. We invited him to the event," she said. "Even though he couldn't make it, because he was performing at the time, he promoted our event during every press event he did. He also made a lovely personal donation of a script, signed by the entire cast of ‘Fraiser,' for our silent auction. "
The benefit includes hor d'oeuvres and drinks in the courtyard of The Orchards.
Danner, a long time advisory board member of the Wil liamstown Film Festival, will appear at Images Cinema for the one-night-only screening of the new film "Hello I Must Be Going," a joint benefit for the film festival and Images.
The screening begins at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a question and answer session, featuring Danner and Williamstown Film Festival Executive Director Steven Lawson.
Tickets are $12 for the general public and $10 for Images members. Reservations can be made by calling 413- 458-1039.
"I'm thrilled that Oscilloscope Pictures, the distributor of the film, is letting the Williamstown Film Festival and Images do this very special event," Lawson said in a release. "It's serendipity that Blythe is back at WTF this year, and that she'll be able to attend the film and take questions. She's been on our advisory board for a long time, has always wanted to do something with the film festival -- and now she is."
"Hello I Must Be Going," a new film starring Danner, John Rubinstein, Melanie Lynskey, and Christopher Abbott, opened this year's Sundance Film Festival and will be released in August.
The film revolves around a vulnerable recent divorcee (Lynskey) who moves back to the upscale Connecticut home of her parents (Danner, Rubinstein) and finds herself embarking on an affair with a 19-year-old actor (Abbott).