“If I Were a Bell”
Detail of “Two On the Aisle” by Tommy Tune
Ladies and Gents,
The Wing and a Prayer:
Last night was one of my favorite annual events: the American Theatre Wing Gala. The great Frank Loesser was honored, on the occasion of what would have been his 100th Birthday. His gorgeous widow, Jo Sullivan Loesser, was on hand to celebrate. The stars (and Tony nominees) came out in droves. Howard Sherman and Ted Chapin were gracious hosts, as ever, taking time to make each guest feel like the only guest. And what guests! Current Tony nominees Angela Lansbury, Alfred Molina, Valerie Harper, Linda Lavin, Jan Maxwell, Rob Ashford, Andrew Lippa, Jessica Hecht, Chad Kimball, Sherie Rene Scott, Katie Finneran, Montego Glover, Christiane Noll, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Stephen Kunken, Bobby Steggert and Kevin Chamberlin were joined by a slew of other stars including Tommy Tune, Kate Burton, Morley Safer, and the jaw-droppingly sexy new cast of The Lion King. Equally impressive was the evening’s line-up of performers: Harry Connick, Jr., Megan Mullally and Kelli O’Hara. I ran into my dear friend Liz Smith, who worked the red carpet like the pro that she is! I said, “Lizzy, I’ve been doing this nearly as long as you have and nobody ever wants to take my picture.” “I don’t know when that all started, and I’ll never understand it, but I don’t mind one bit,” she demurred. I also ran into the great Jimmy Nederlander, Jr., who told me he was over the moon for his large-scale giraffe portrait by the one-and-only Tommy Tune, which he purchased at the opening night of Tune’s exhibition, Longnecks. I, of course, was at said opening…
Longnecks, the brand new exhibition at the Peter Glebo Gallery showcasing a series of giraffe paintings by Tommy Tune, officially opened last Thursday. The whole crowd (including Liz Smith, Steve Guttenberg, Michael Musto, Michelle Lee and Jimmy and Margo Nederlander) were gaga for these giraffes! I am desperate for one myself, and I already have a wall picked out. The Nederlanders couldn’t decide between one gigantic canvas called “The Royal Family” or two smaller ones called “Andy Warhol” and “Steve Rubel.” Well, I was on pins and needles because “Steve Rubel” is the one I’ve been drooling over. Thankfully they went with “The Royal Family” in the end so “mine” is still up for grabs (fair warning to anyone who wants to buy it: I have sharp elbows)!
A perfect “Night”:
I ventured downtown over the weekend to catch the Fiasco Theater’s production of Twelfth Night. What this company has done with this masterwork is breathtaking, and with a pitch-perfect 8-person cast! The divine Annie Purcell, who took my breath away in Lincoln Center’s The Coast of Utopia a few seasons back, is the most perfect Viola I’ve ever seen. This is a not-to-be-missed production and it’s playing at Tribeca’s Access Theater, right near all my favorite restaurants. I’ll be making a return visit before it ends its run on June 20!
Speaking of masterworks, Judy Collins new album is finally in stores today. It’s aptly called Paradise, and Ms. Collins has never sounded better. You can, of course, catch her live at the Carlyle through the end of this week. In meantime, Tony winner Sutton Foster is readying her debut Carlyle act, which opens on Tuesday.
Tidbits from Around Town:
Witnessed WCBS’s Dana Tyler and Metropolitan Opera guru Lee Abrahamian dining at Esca, making some very bold Tony predictions.
Spotted Alfred Molina standing in line at Schnipper’s on West 41st Street.
Saw the eternally youthful Irene Gandy giggling with the also eternally youthful Richard Thomas at Sardi’s.
Overheard Joan Rivers asking Henry Edwards, “What the hell’s wrong with that kid?” after a drunken 20-something accosted her at Joe Allen.
Finally, I must offer a sincere and heartfelt apology to the great press agent Philip Rinaldi and his beloved husband Larry Katen, whom I misidentified in last week’s column as Norman Maine. A certain prankster, who shall remain nameless here, played a horrible joke on me by giving me the wrong name. This error has caused me much personal sadness and embarrassment over the past week, and I pledge to you, my dear readers, to be more careful with the facts going forward.
As always, a toast of something sparking to you and yours!