To prove how very big this particular star is, Lansbury's current A Little Night Music co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones joined Lansbury's former Sweeney Todd co-star Victor Garber to rattle off a few of Lansbury's many career milestones. They include: three Oscar nominations, 18 Emmy nominations, five Tony wins, six Golden Globe wins, a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and a Kennedy Center Honor. Whew…I'm tired even typing that!
Beyond a tribute to an enviable career, last night also served as a reunion for many of the original cast members from two of Lansbury's biggest hits, Mame and Sweeney Todd.
The original Sweeney, Len Cariou, serenaded Lansbury with "Pretty Women," alongside Alexander Gemignani (son of the famed musical director Paul Gemignani). Other Sweeney songs included a knockout version of "Not While I'm Around" from another dedicated "Sondheim girl," Bernadette Peters. Sweeney’s original Johanna, Sarah Rice, performed, as did her Anthony (Garber), who sang from what Lansbury herself called one of her most successful flops — Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle.
Of course, there was many a reference to the show that gave Lansbury her first Tony, Mame. Songbird Ann Hampton Callaway (who played the title character in her high school production) sang "If He Walked Into My Life," Donna Murphy got carried away (literally) by a host of chorus boys for "It's Today," and original Mame cast members Frankie Michaels (the original little Patrick) and Jerry Lanning (older Patrick) sang "My Best Girl." Perhaps one of the best numbers of the evening came courtesy of Cheyenne Jackson (as Vera) and Christopher Sieber (as Mame) who sang a hilarious version of the song made famous by Lansbury and Bea Arthur, "Bosom Buddies."
Edie Falco played the role of "merry mailman" as she read some love letters from absentee Lansbury colleagues, including Hal Prince, who said that when pressed about which star he enjoyed working with the most, he'd invariably say "Angie."
The evening came to a close with the lady of the hour getting up on stage to call the night "one of the best" of her life. Citing her age ("84 a year ago," she said, if you can believe it!) and the age of her frequent collaborator, Stephen Sondheim (who is turning 80 next month), she noted that their reunion for A Little Night Music "may very well be my swan song — it would be very fitting."
Fitting, indeed, for a true Queen of the Broadway stage.
[caption id="attachment_1590" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Honoree Angela Lansbury"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1583" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Edie Falco"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1584" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Victor Garber"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1586" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Bernadette Peters"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1587" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Will Swenson"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1579" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Len Cariou (photos by Joe Marzullo)"][/caption]