Fighting addiction stigma, spreading the hope of recovery through theater

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation turns out crowd, amplifies message of new off-Broadway production of The White Chip

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
5 min readFeb 14, 2024

By Jeremiah Gardner

(L to R): Annaleigh Ashford, Barbara Manocherian, Jason Tam, Joe Tapper and William C. Moyers.

The big aim of most advocacy movements is to break through into pop culture and carry a potent message to the masses. That’s exactly what playwright Sean Daniels is doing with his autobiographical comedy THE WHITE CHIP, which depicts his own story of addiction and recovery.

The play is enjoying off-Broadway success to start 2024 and getting attention from major media including the New York Times, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Axios, and The Drew Barrymore Show. It also attracted the attention of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the nation’s leading nonprofit addiction and mental health care provider, which has done a lot itself to bring recovery into the mainstream since being founded in 1949.

Through the generosity of several donors, Hazelden Betty Ford and friends were able to fill a New York City theater on Feb. 9 for an early performance of THE WHITE CHIP, hosting a social hour before the show and facilitating a panel discussion afterward. Held at the 100-capacity Susan & Ronald Frankel Theater at The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space, it was the first big event of Hazelden Betty Ford’s 75th anniversary year.

The panel featured producer and award-winning actress Annaleigh Ashford, fellow producer Barbara Manocherian, cast members Jason Tam and Joe Tapper, and Hazelden Betty Ford VP William C. Moyers, a well-known national recovery advocate who led the engaging discussion.

“Leveraging entertainment to thoughtfully educate the public about the realities of addiction and recovery is an important way to fight stigma and spread hope,” said Hazelden Betty Ford’s Kelly Gieser. “THE WHITE CHIP is outstanding, and it was a wonderful way to kick off our 75th anniversary events.”

What’s next: Sign up for updates on Hazelden Betty Ford’s upcoming 75th Anniversary events and opportunities.

What they’re saying

Lisa Federico, president of the New Jersey Association of County Drug and Alcohol Directors: “Thank you to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation for letting me join in on this night! I laughed, cried and met amazing colleagues with a similar mission. 10/10 highly recommend this show to anyone, in any field. I am so proud to be a Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School alum.”

Hazelden Betty Ford Outreach Manager Greg Giancola: “A powerful and compelling play about a theatrical producer’s struggle with substance use disorder and his journey to get and stay sober. I highly recommend this amazing production! I was privileged … to personally host my friends and colleagues from Caron Treatment Centers, Synergy Houses, Rock Creek Therapy, and Within Reach Therapy. It truly was a night of elegance and fun!”

Bill Lammers, Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies Board of Governors: “A powerful new play chronicling the difficult, but often life-saving journey from addiction to recovery! Grateful for the educational and impactful work being done every day for individuals and families by countless talented & compassionate caregivers.”

Jeanette Betancourt, EdD, senior VP, U.S. Social Impact, Sesame Workshop: “Thank you so much for allowing us to participate in the amazing experience. I was overwhelmed with the incredible story and acting.”

Strategist and Advisor Robert Goldrich: “What a great night at The White Chip, the amazing off-Broadway play about recovery, kicking off Hazelden Betty Ford’s 75th anniversary year.”

Jason Arsenault, head of business development and partnerships at You Are Accountable: “Thank you to Chris Usher at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation for tickets to The White Chip. Jaw-dropping performance about one man’s struggle with alcoholism and the strength to get sober🙏🏼.”

Event Planner Kristina Stanley: “Delighted to have been in NYC alongside the extraordinary team from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, celebrating The White Chip at the Robert W Wilson MCC Theater Space and its powerful message of recovery. Congratulations to the amazing cast and production team. Catch it before it closes!”

THE WHITE CHIP: Playing through March 9, 2024. Get tickets.
(L to R) Hazelden Betty Ford Trustee John Power, Hazelden Betty Ford Chief Development Officer David Wilke (center, standing), former Hazelden Betty Ford Board Chair Lester Munson (center, seated) and THE WHITE CHIP producer Annaleigh Ashford.
(L to R): Robert Goldrich, Annaleigh Ashford, Barbara Manocherian, Jason Tam and Joe Tapper.
Hazelden Betty Ford Outreach Manager Greg Giancola (center) with guests (L to R) Brian Schultz of Synergy Houses, Jason Nicholsen of Within Reach Therapy, Deb MacDonald of Caron Treatment Centers and Adam Bloom of Rock Creek Therapy.
LEFT (L to R): Hazelden Betty Ford’s David Wilke, Kelly Gieser, Kristina Stanley and William C. Moyers. RIGHT: Nancy Moyers with her father, William C. Moyers.

Jeremiah Gardner is director of communications and public affairs for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. If you’d like to receive Hazelden Betty Ford’s advocacy emails, subscribe today.



Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

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