Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The 2010 Drama League Gala Honoring Angela Lansbury

Last night, the Annual Drama League Gala was an evening billed as a Musical Celebration of Broadway honoring Angela Lansbury.  I worked as one of  dozens of volunteers - helping with the evening by stuffing gift bags, assisting with the silent auction set up, and finally acting as a "Greeter" in full party dress.

I arrived at the Pierre Hotel at noon and was privy to the rehearsal - first Len Cariou and Alexander Gemignani, then Cheyenne Jackson and Christopher Sieber working on Bosom Buddies and best of all, Donna Murphy in a fantastic rendition of Me & My Town (please, oh, please let her be the Mayoress in the upcoming Anyone Can Whistle at Encores!).  

At 5:00, we dolled up (we shared a green room with the stars, which meant that Bernadette and I were gathering our belongings together after the show) and prepared to greet guests.   Hundreds of guests arrived  in varying degrees of couture. While I did see a few Broadway producers such as Stuart Lane, Jamie DeRoy and Marty Richards, the crowd seemed mostly comprised of socialites and patrons of the Drama League.  My position did allow me to see Angela arriving like the Queen she is, in a beautiful full length velvet gown.   My duty also included pointing some of the performers toward the right door for the green room. 

There was short film, which elicited much laughter and applause, compiled of  many scenes from Angela's great film career and tv appearances, highlighting some of the greater and truly fabulous roles.  It also included a hysterical homage to Murder, She Wrote that played out a full scene of her solving a murder that was compiled from many different episodes.  Best of all, the film included clips from her Broadway career.

The concert itself lasted around an hour and featured songs from Angela's repertoire from both stage and film.  It was directed by Michael Mayer and Beatrice Terry.  Choreography was by Diana Baffa-Brill and Joann M. Hunter.   Each performer showed one thing in common - great admiration and love for the lady of the evening.   Clearly, Angela was having a great time and stood up for each performer while offering applause and blowing kisses. 

The performances* were: 

Dee Hoty - It's Today 
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Victor Garber introduced the evening
Beth Fowler -  Beauty & the Beast
Edie Falco - spoke and read letters from Hal Prince and Chita Rivera
Frankie Michaels (the original Young Patrick), Jerry Lanning (Original Older Patrick) and her mentee Tom Rhoads- My Best Girl
Donna Murphy - Me & My Town  (Donna waited right next to me before she made her entrance!)
Victor Garber  - Anyone Can Whistle
Sarah Rice - beginning of Green Finch then The Age of Not Believing
Len Cariou & Alex Gemignani - Pretty Women
Ann Hampton Callaway - composed a song for Angela w/ words from the audience + If He Walked Into My Life
Charles Busch told a riotous story about attending a Passover Seder with Angela at mutual friend's home - he said, “You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Angela Lansbury try to pronounce the word khoroset.”
Cheyenne Jackson and Christopher Sieber -  Bosom Buddies
Bernadette Peters - Not While I'm Around
Bernadette then Malcom Getz, James Barbour, J. Bernard Calloway, Will Swenson, Christopher Sieber, Cheyenne Jackson, Derrick Baskin and others sang "Angie" to the tune of "Mame" and then Angela was brought up on stage to a standing ovation

*Marian Seldes, Audra McDonald, Chita Rivera and T.R. Knight were unable to attend


Elizabeth said...

Thank you, Sarah, for such a detailed description of last night! And thank you for the little video of the interview with her! She looked lovely, as she never fails to, and I'm so glad I am able to say that I saw her live! Her career is illustrious and will never stop!!!

karigee said...

Brava, brava! I'm glad you had such a marvelous night -- and that picture of DM waiting in the wings is divine. She has to be CHH -- it simply has to be!

Kevin Daly said...

The original Patricks? Now there's a moment to remember (among so many!)

And another vote for Donna as the Mayoress Hoover Hooper!

Xtine said...

What a fabulous recurrence of events, Sarah. I have no doubt that you were, in deed, floating on the way home. I imagine it was magical.
Some great photo shots as well. I agree with the others. That shot of Donna in the wings is so great!

Roxie said...

Hooray! Thanks for the run-down (and the texts!). What a fabulous night (and I do lurve DM's dress- how very sparkly!)

Roxie said...

Hooray! Thanks for the run-down (and the texts!). What a fabulous night (and I do lurve DM's dress- how very sparkly!)

jiva said...

If anyone's dream in life has come true, it's yours, Sarah. What a magical, fabulous day and evening, and how thrilled I know you must be in your heart of hearts to have participated in your heroine's special time. She is truly the Queen of Broadway, and you are truly the best observer ever of The Broadway Scene. Thanks for being you, and for being there!

Unknown said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!