Artie Van Why
Playwright, author and actor
September 11, 2014, at 11:30 a.m.
Join Artie Van Why, Playwright, Author and Survivor, who will vividly and poignantly recapture what it was like to live through that day–September 11th–downtown New York City at Ground Zero. Artie presents from the heart and provides a beautiful tribute to the men and women who lost their lives that day.
Originally from Maryland, Artie Van Why moved to New York City in November of 1977 to pursue an acting career; albeit a slightly successful one.
Artie left show business in 1988 to enter the corporate world; as a word processor. He worked for the same law firm in midtown Manhattan for thirteen years. In June of 2001, his firm moved to other quarters downtown, across from the World Trade Center. Artie was at work the morning of September 11th, and witnessed the horror of that day from the streets.
He quit his job after three weeks of being back at his office’s building near what was now called Ground Zero. He began writing about his experience of that day and the days and weeks following, giving a vivid accounting of what it was like to be in New York City on that day in September, and afterwards. He sent some of his writings to friends and family via emails, and they, in turn, forwarded them to their friends and family. In a short period of time people across the country were reading Artie’s emails. He began receiving emails from people expressing their gratitude in being given a glimpse of what it was like to be in New York City during that time. He was encouraged to keep writing, and he did. Led by a personal conviction to tell his story of 9/11, Artie returned to his theatrical beginnings and began adapting his writings into a script. Laboring over draft after draft, Artie wanted to create a work he could share with people across the country.
During this time, he met famed actor, Richard Masur, through a mutual friend. Richard had done weeks of volunteer work at Ground Zero during the weeks of rescue and recovery. With Richard’s help, Artie put the final touches on the script and produced a staged reading of what was now a one man play called “That Day in September” in New York City. The reading was a success, a sold out evening. With Richard now involved as director, the first mounted production of “That Day In September” premiered on the campus of California Lutheran University, in Thousand Oaks, California, shortly after the one year anniversary of September 11th. The play then moved to the Celebration Theater in Los Angeles, where it opened to critical acclaim.
Back in New York, Artie mounted a workshop production of “That Day In September,” in preparation for a New York run. In August of 2003 “That Day in September” opened Off Broadway for a limited run.
After the New York production, in September of 2003, Artie moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he now resides.
Still compelled to tell his story of 9/11, Artie shared his experience of that day for churches, civic groups, high school students and as the key speaker in a series of conferences on PTSD for Drexel University. The response garnered from those speaking opportunities encouraged Artie to do whatever he could to preserve the memory of 9/11 in people’s minds. To that end he self-published “That Day In September” as a book adaptation in 2006.