Every day is opening night.

“They Live in You”

Ladies and gents,
You know there’s nothing I love more than a black tie affair at a classic New York venue, so I was like a pig in slop at the American
Theatre Wing Gala on Monday night. The evening’s honoree was none other than James Earl Jones, and I’ve never seen such
adoration come from a gala crowd before. I arrived just in time to watch the tail end of the red carpet arrivals, when American
Theatre Wing President Heather Hitchens and her husband Felix Cisneros were flanked by Magic and Cookie Johnson on one
side, Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson on the other, and none other than George Lucas was peeking out from the back.
Moments later I saw Fun Home mini siren Sydney Lucas posing with Magic, billing themselves as the evenings shortest and tallest guests. God, I love show biz!
After taking our seats for dinner, we were welcomed by Ms. Hitchens, who then introduced five actors who have played Mufasa in the stage version of Disney’s The Lion King, including the original: Samuel E. Wright. Together they performed a perfectly
conceived rendition of “They Live In You” for James, who famously voiced the character in the film.
The guest list was a who’s who that included the likes of Daryl Roth, Jujumcyn prez Jordan Roth, Richie Jackson, Page Six’s
resident hunk Ian Mohr, Angela Lansbury, Leslie Odom, Jr., Shubert toppers Philip Smith and Robert Wankel, Nederlander big wig Nick Scandalios, Barry and Fran Weisler, Disney czar Thomas Schumacher, and, naturally, Dr. Barry Kohn who, when asked by a certain Broadway diva “Is that a flu shot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”, replied “Both!”
After dinner, the performances continued with a lineup that included Patina Miller, Ruthie Ann Miles, Norm Lewis, Kerry Butler,
and Brandon Victor Dixon — who brought down the house with “Let The Good Times Roll.”
On the way out of the Plaza, a little high from champagne and great vocals, I spotted a beaming William Ivey Long, Chairman of
the Wing. “Quite a night!” I enthused. “It was, it was! And we raised so much money,” he said dreamily.
Tidbits from around town…
Spotted “Party of Five” pipsqueak Lacey Chabert getting soaking wet at Fuerza Bruta.
Ran into Margie Korshak, the long reining queen of Chicago P.R., at the opening night of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and
Murder’s tour at the Bank of America Theatre (which, ironically, doesn’t have an ATM on the premises).
Caught Billy Eichner grabbing a quick bite at Schnipper’s Times Square.
Lastly, a correction. Last week’s column included a tidbit about Tony Award winning Broadway producer Sue Wagner, and
misspelled her last name as “Wager.” Sue, please accept my apologies – the “n” was cut for space and believe me when I tell you I
raised hell about it at our last editorial meeting.
As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!