PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Match's Frank Langella Chex It Out

By Harry Haun
09 Apr 2004

Jeffreys, hair up and elegantly turned out, was a vision who stepped out of another era, someone who still knew how to dress for a Broadway opening. Friends in the cast? she was asked. "My friend," she fine-tuned, "is a producer who hired the cast. I just came in for the opening, and I'm returning to Los Angeles in the morning. I wanted to be here."

Her husband, Robert Sterling, has been bedridden for some time, and that fact sharply limits her travels. But she loves New York, she said, and, while here she looked up June Springer, widow of publicist John Springer, and other chorines from the original cast of Kiss Me Kate. She says she's not through acting. "Make me an offer."

Some of the stars at the opening didn't make the long trek downtown from the theatre. Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, for two. And Rosie O'Donnell's conductor, John McDaniel. It was unsettling enough for him to be at the Plymouth "so soon after Taboo." He, and others, feel that the show didn't get a fair shake. "It got criticism that it didn't deserved. We're proud of it."

Other play-goers who didn't make it to party-goers: Tommy Tune, Regis and Joy Philbin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson, Mandy Moore, Andrea Martin, model Juan Manuel, Frances Sternhagen, Natasha Lyonne, Krya Sedgwick, Angus McIndoe, Louis Zorich, Bebe Neuwirth and Rosie Perez.

Attending both events were Tony winners Jim Dale and Chita Rivera, Tony nominee (and now nominator) David Marshall Grant, Skip Sudduth and Bobby Cannavale.

Several working actors showed up for the late-night reveling, among them Proof's Ben Shenkman (soon to be seen in Sight Unseen), John C. Reilly (who's currently filming but has hopes of returning to Broadway, maybe in and as Marty) and Melanie Brown (a.k.a. Scary Spice, who is uncontainably bullish about going to Broadway, in Rent). Eve Ensler, the author-actress who launched The Vagina Monologues, says she has now progressed to The Good Body, a new one-person show which she is about to test out in Seattle. "It's about how we feel about our bodies, how that feeling helps or inhibits us."

Long-time-no-see Kate Burton said it will be even longer. She's heading west because her husband, Michael Ritchie, has taken over the top spot at L.A.'s Ahmanson. "I'm getting ready to do my last two plays at Williamstown—a new play and Midsummer Night's Dream," she said wistfully. Ritchie rules the Williamstown roost through this summer only.