Hoffman's Team Wins LAByrinth Charades Benefit

News   Hoffman's Team Wins LAByrinth Charades Benefit Philip Seymour Hoffman's team emerged victorious in the LAByrinth Theater Company's annual celebrity charades benefit at the Downtown Auditorium in New York's financial district on Nov. 13.

In the final round of the tournament, which took place inside a boxing ring, Hoffman's black team — which included Sam Rockwell, Justin Theroux, Mark Ronson, Billy Crudup and Hoffman's LAByrinth co-artistic director, John Ortiz — defeated the silver team fifteen to twelve.

Hoffman's squad, sporting various combinations of black t-shirts, black athletic shorts, wigs, cigars, fake moustaches and Halloween makeup, looked like the Marx Brothers after a game of full-contact basketball. Rockwell's nose was bloody and Crudup's was patched up with a white band-aid.

The silver team included Robin Williams, Cynthia Rowley, Julianna Margulies, Dana Delany, Josh Hamilton and Zach Williams — Robin's son, who got to play with his dad by winning one of the two spots reserved for the top bidders in a pre-show live auction.

They had advanced to the final round by beating the gold team, which included Anthony Mackie, Bobby Cannavale, Erika Christensen, Jay Hernandez and Jeremy Sisto. The black team advanced by defeating the red team, made up of Daphne Rubin-Vega, Noah Emmerich, John Hawkes, Rachel Dratch, Gina Gershon and the other auction winner, Jeff Horwitz, the LAByrinth board chairman.

Moments that got the raucous crowd going included Dratch's embodiment of Linda Blair's character in "The Exorcist," and Hamilton's portrayal of the play Tape via the "sounds like" signal and then his depiction of "rape." To describe the second word in "Almost Famous," Sisto pointed to everyone around him. Williams' energy was kept in check by the relatively straightforward titles he had to act out, such as "Sideways," "Interview with a Vampire" and "Stairway to Heaven," though he did get to be creative on "Queer as Folk." Margulies, his teammate, was especially adept, successfully portraying "My Humps" through suggestive dance and "The View" by impersonating all the members of that talk show sitting around a table.

Hoffman's team's strategy was to skip the phrases that were taking too long to get. In the first round, Crudup skipped "Weeds" by simply walking off without a word. Was it because the Showtime comedy stars his ex-beau, Mary-Louise Parker?

During the live auction before the tournament and between rounds, John Patrick Shanley served as the excited auctioneer, spouting grand statements such as "This is the golden Mesopotamia of New York City" and "I declare this entire place an erogenous zone." He thanked one of the event's sponsors, "Time Out New York — the only magazine named after a punishment."

Before the main event was a VIP reception at Bobby Van's Steakhouse, where the producer Daryl Roth received the Hoghe Award in honor of her dedication to the LAByrinth. For more information visit www.labtheater.org.