You can support the 25-year-old Ensemble Studio Theatre and pay tribute to legendary cartoonist Al Hirschfeld at a special Feb. 26 event at Florence Gould Hall at The French Institute/Alliance Francaise on East 59th St. in New York.
Hosting will be Carol Channing and Jason Robards, two performers who've been sketched dozens of times by the hands of Hirschfeld.
The caricaturist, now a spry 93, was recently memorialized in Susan W. Dryfoos' documentary film, The Line King, which will be screened at the event. After the movie, Frank Rich, former NY Times chief theatre critic, will hold an onstage conversation with Hirschfeld. A buffet reception will cap the evening.
In his years at the New York Times, Hirschfeld has interviewed and limned the likenesses of Joel Grey, Colleen Dewhurst, Lauren Bacall and thousands of other theatre luminaries. The movie documents Hirschfeld's life, childhood, influences and impact.
The Line King features interviews with celebrities, insights from Hirschfeld's late wife, Dolly Haas, and commentary from the master himself. We'll also meet Hirschfeld's daughter, the famously named Nina (Hirschfeld still hides her name in his cartoons, in folds of skirts, beards, jewelry, etc.). Dryfoos' own Time History Productions produced the 90-minute film, which is being distributed by Castle Hill Productions.
Ensemble Studio Theatre, under the artistic directorship of Curt Dempster, has fostered the creation of more than 5,000 new plays. Horton Foote once called it, "a constant creative force in the American theatre, where one is sympathetically encouraged to develop his talent and craft."
Channing is legendary for her work in Hello, Dolly! and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Robards is best known for acting in the works of Eugene O'Neill, from Long Day's Journey Into Night to The Iceman Cometh.
For tax-deductible tickets ($75) to the Hirschfeld tribute, beginning 6:45 PM, call (212) 247-4982.
-- By David Lefkowitz