Ted Chapin, Heather Hitchens, Sir Howard Stringer and Marva A. Smalls
Ladies and gents,
My doctor told me I have to take it easy on the libations, so I’m going to see how long I can go without a drop of liquor. I expect it will be a breeze, as I’ve always insisted that glamour- not booze- is my intoxicant of choice. I’ve decided to stay out of my favorite haunts (“Table 1” at Birdland, the newly revamped Joe Allen, and the timeless Bemelman’s Bar, to name just a few) for a while just to avoid temptation. If you do see me out and about, loyal readers, please try to resist the urge to send over a bottle of something sparkling and very expensive. There’s nothing more depressing than seeing a bottle of fine champagne go flat!
The American Theatre Wing broke with tradition this year by holding their annual gala in the fall, instead of the spring amidst all the Tony season madness. What a pleasure it was to kick off the season in style at the Plaza Hotel with all those glamorous Broadway types dressed to the tens! (The exception was notorious Post scribe Michael Riedel, who showed up in an ensemble that truly put the “Optional” in “Black Tie Optional.”)
The whole affair was held in honor of Sir Howard Stringer, the multi-titled Sony heavy (who knew one person could be Chairman, C.E.O. and President of a single company?!), and also served as the unofficial debut of the Wing’s brand new Executive Director Heather Hitchens. Ted Chapin and Marva A. Smalls served as Gala Co-Chairmen. Mayor Bloomberg surprised Sir Howard by showing up to proclaim “American Theatre Wing Day in Honor of Sir Howard Stringer.” Accepting the proclamation, Sir Howard called Hizzoner “the only Republican I have ever loved … and voted for.” Well, I’ve loved more Republicans than you can shake one of Tucker Carlson’s bowties at, but I’d never, ever vote for one!
As dinner wound down, a dazzling array of entertainers took the stage, including Angela Lansbury, James Naughton, Kelli O’Hara, Elaine Paige, Colin Donnell, Erin Mackey, Marilu Henner and Brandon Victor Dixon. Finally, Jennifer Hudson appeared onstage for the finale, and knocked “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” out of the park. I tried to get backstage to ask Jennifer a few questions for the column, but she wasn’t doing any press. An exception was made, of course, for ubiquitous Broadway photographer Bruce Glikas, to whom she owes her Oscar and, hence, for whom she posed beautifully. (It was he, I understand, who talked producers into casting her in Dreamgirls.) After that, I’m telling you, we all got going.
Love, Loss and More and More!
Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron’s insta-hit Love, Loss, and What I Wore will celebrate its two-year anniversary next week. This is an extremely rare, almost-unheard-of accomplishment for an Off-Broadway show in this day and age, and those gals should be very proud of themselves! Certainly the show’s rotating cast concept has helped maintain interest, as fresh stars pop in every month, but it’s the raw, honest and altogether hilarious writing that is its real engine keeping this show humming along. I would think that after two years the Sisters Ephron would be so sick of clothes they’d have moved off to a nudist colony somewhere, but every time I see them they are dressed chicer than the time before. So, hearty congratulations to the two of them and, of course, to producer Daryl Roth!
Tidbits from around town
Saw Charles Busch yukking it up with his friend on 8th Avenue in the village.
Spotted Broadway’s reigning king of cloth, William Ivey Long, waiting for his car outside of a Tribeca garage, packed for a weekend in the country.
Overheard Seth Rogan mocking a police officer on horse back, though the cop seemed to be playing along.
Witnessed NY1’s own Frank DiLella get into such a tussle with some very rude patrons at Newsies that the police were called in to cart the offenders away. Justice!
As always, a toast of something to you and yours!