Elaine Stritch's one-woman show opened at the Old Vic on Wednesday, Oct. 9 and was followed by a gala reception at the Savoy Hotel, where the star is staying for the duration of her season at the Vic.
Both events were attended by a celebrity audience in black tie and evening dress, while Ms. Stritch effortlessly commanded the stage, dressed only in a white shirt and black tights.
In an evening that mingled showbiz anecdotes with tales of her temper and her drinking — plus some wonderful renditions of Coward and Sondheim songs (including, inevitably,"I'm Still Here") — La Stritch held the audience in the palm of her hand.
Among those at the theatre and the Savoy were Maureen Lipman, Ronnie Corbett, Bruce Forsythe, Lesley Joseph and Cilla Black — a primarily television crowd rather than theatre one, and a reminder that Miss Stritch has had a television career as well as a stage one — even if she did (as she recounted in a hilarious behind-the-scenes story) mess up the chance to star in "The Golden Girls"!
The flashbulbs lit up the lobby of the Savoy as Elaine Stritch arrived for a relatively brief personal appearance at the post-show reception, which was notable for the absence of drama critics: They were all back in their offices writing reviews, which have been wildly enthusiastic for the show.
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow