By Harry Haun
25 Apr 2012
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"That was Joe DiPietro," she countered. "It was in the script: 'She swings from the chandelier.' We just had to figure out a way for us to get her there, that's all.
"This is my favorite kind of thing to do — a romantic screwball comedy. What's better? And what I love about this show is — I was thinking about this tonight — the fact that it starts with a party and it ends with a party. It's such a beautiful way to send people out into the night, on that kind of wave of joy."
After Anything Goes, this show seconds her affection for Golden Age shows. "I'm an old movie buff and an old music buff. Sometimes, I feel I was born in the wrong era, but I get to do a 21st-century Gershwin musical, and that's kinda great."
Broderick's table was packed with celebrity pals, and when one told him he was "on fire tonight," he nodded and confessed, "I was very good." It has been a while since his last song-and-dance, The Producers, but he didn't mind getting into the harness again. "It was difficult, but it was also great fun. I worked very hard."
For all the great songs she has to sing, O'Hara's favorite moment is a silent one: "Before I sit on the stage and sing that last duet, I get to stand for 30 seconds in the orchestra pit and just listen to that beautiful music — that's my favorite part."
Rumors that she will next be doing The King and I at Lincoln Center are, she said, just that: rumors — "but, if the schedule works out, of course I would love to do it." And, yes, she has heard Evita's Michael Cerveris, a Brynner ringer if ever there was one, could grab the brass crown. "We'll see. I trust Bartlett Sher. He found Paolo Szot for South Pacific."
A rather robust 84, Parsons was enjoying her bonbon-at-the-end positioning (two scenes) and her billing (third). "George S. Kaufman once wrote, 'If you can do it, put a character in near the end of the play to give it a bump-up,' so that's my job and it works." Nice work if you can get it, Estelle.
McGrath, the Tony-nominated Patsy of Spamalot, continues his second-banana antics like a latter-day Allen Jenkins-Frank McHugh. "I may not know the names, but I recognize all those guys. He's a wise-guy Everyman, which I love playing, and I love to be able to draw from all those old characters from all those old movies and bring them to life on the stage because they're a blast, a real blast."
Jennifer Laura Thompson as the expendable fiancée is allotted two wonderfully ridiculous moments: singing "Delishious" in her bath while a chorus line pops up out of the suds and climbs out of the tub, and maneuvering a wedding dress with an endless train ("I have a lot of backstage support — two people who are feeding it forward. It was 50 feet initially, and then they added six yards.").
First-nighters ranged, bizarrely, from former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton to French actor Jean Reno, both with their respective spouses, businessman Marc Mezvinsky and Polish model Zofia Borucka.
In between: Mrs. Broderick & Son (Sarah Jessica Parker and James Wilke Broderick), a pride of Tony winners (John Benjamin Hickey, Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Lea Salonga and James Naughton), Jennifer Westfeldt and Jon Hamm, Lemon Sky's Keith Nobbs, playwrights Kenneth Lonergan and Alfred Uhry, producer-comedienne Jamie de Roy and actor Tony Lo Bianco (both graying nicely), Shawn Elliott (fresh from producing and acting in Teresa's Ecstasy at the Cherry Lane), Concetta Tomei, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo's Arian Moayed and director Moises Kaufman, crooning icon Tony Bennett (who has doubtlessly done the entire score at one time or another), Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli (likewise thoroughly familiar with the music), Erin Dilly and Stephen R. Buntrock, Susan Sullivan, Olivier-winning director and Tony-winning choreographer Rob Ashford (Marshall's former assistant), David Hyde Pierce, Carol Kane and mom, Victor Garber (whose Ben Affleck-directed flick, "Argo," comes out in the fall), Roger Rees and Rick Elice (seeing shows for a while instead of making them), Didi Conn and David Shire (he's composing a new musical for director Gordon Edelstein up at Long Wharf), Andy Cohen, "Smash" songsmiths Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Memphis' Tony-winning composer David Bryan, and Rachel York (soon Dorothy to Megan Hilty's Lorelei in the Encores! Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and, come August, Reno Sweeney for Marshall's Anything Goes road company).
Rob Marshall, big brother to the show's director-choreographer, was also in attendance with his producer/partner, John DeLuca. It wasn't entirely a family obligation that brought them there, either. "We're working on a film for the fall called 'The Thin Man' starring Johnny Depp," he said. "We're starting that process now of finding that fantastic Nora Charles for him. And, yes, there will be music. I think I'm going to work from some of the material from the '30s, like this beautiful music we're hearing tonight. I think I'm going to start shopping tonight . . ."
View highlights from the production: