Studio Announces Benefit in Honor of Late Student Sean Harrington-Gaffney

May 1, 2017

New York, NY – April 27, 2017: The Stella Adler Studio of Acting announced today a benefit in honor of late student Sean Harrington-Gaffney, to be held on Monday, May 15, 2017 at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Manhattan. Harrington-Gaffney was a graduate of the Studio’s Evening Conservatory who passed away from a heroin overdose in July 2016, shortly after completing his studies at the Studio. The event is organized by Sean’s mother, Patricia Harrington, in order to raise both funds to support current students of the Studio and awareness about opioid addiction, a growing crisis among millennials.

“Sean was a lively presence at the studio, and most notably, a student who was eager to learn. He was well-liked by his classmates and I remember him as someone with natural ability, positioning himself to grow through his openness to new information and constructive feedback,” said Tom Oppenheim, Artistic Director of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. “While the community was devastated to hear of Sean’s loss, we are deeply inspired by his mother’s intent to not only extend his positive legacy but to also take the shame out of discussing addiction and make sure that Sean’s life continues to have positive reverberations for others.”

“I want my son’s legacy to be remembered for how he lived his life, his talent, his love that he gave so freely, his kindness. At the same time, I want to bring awareness to the fact that this tragedy could happen to any young person, anyone’s child. It is an insidious disease that took Sean’s life in his prime,” said Patricia Harrington, mother of the late Sean Harrington-Gaffney.

Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that deaths due to drug-poisoning increased 2.3-fold for adults aged 18–24 between 2010 and 2013. The rise in opioid-related deaths continues to affect families across the United States. These are epidemic proportions.

The evening will include remarks from Dr. Stephen Ross of New York University and Tom Oppenheim, and performances from students and alumni of the studio. Proceeds from the benefit will go towards creating a need-based scholarship for students participating in the Studio’s programs.

The Stella Adler Studio of Acting was founded in 1949 on the principle that growth as an actor and growth as a human being are synonymous. The mission of the Studio is to create an environment that nurtures theater artists and audiences so that they value humanity, their own and others, as their first priority while providing art and education to the greater community. The Stella Adler Studio of Acting’s Outreach Division works with numerous underserved populations including inner-city students, drug and rehabilitation centers and inmates on Rikers Island.

Tickets start at $250, and are available by visiting or calling 212-689-0087 x127.

For media inquiries please contact Ann Kaiser at 212-337-8870 or

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