Audra McDonald, Anthony Rapp, Norm Lewis and More Honored Neil Patrick Harris at Drama League Celebration

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04 Feb 2014

Then came Muppets Telly Monster (Martin Robinson) and Abby Cadabby (Leslie Carrara-Rudolph), who appeared with Harris in his memorable guest role as the "Sesame Street" Shoe Fairy. Lawrence Clayton and James Barbour sang "Bring Him Home" from one of Harris' favorite musicals, Les Misérables. Kal Penn — Kumar in the "Harold and Kumar" films, which featured Harris — offered remarks, followed by "Side by Side by Side" from Cady Huffman, Krysta Rodriguez, Eddie Korbich and Malcolm Gets. Tim Gunn of "Project Runway" gave a nice speech saluting Harris as a public role model, after which Audra McDonald — last year's Drama League honoree — earned cheers with her heartfelt speech and her rapid-fire delivery of Frank Loesser's "Can't Stop Talking about Him."

David Burtka
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Harris' interest in magic was acknowledged by Ed Alonzo doing a sketch called "The Cannon and the Brick," after which Stephen Colbert came on with a barrage of jokes ("You've got to give it to the Broncos, Seattle certainly did!") and an appreciative reminiscence of how Harris helped him get through his performance in the New York Philharmonic's Company. Katie Finneran, Erin Davie and Drew Gehling performed "Getting Married Today" from that Sondheim musical. Then came David Burtka — Harris' longtime partner, and the co-parent of twins — who serenaded the honoree with another Company song, "Marry Me a Little" — and appeared to actually and publically propose marriage.

Harris has had a long relationship with the musical Rent, so it was fitting to end the evening with 11 cast members (including Anthony Rapp) performing "Seasons of Love." As an encore, McDonald — calling herself "the whitest black person ever" — performed a capsule roundup of the show in rap style.

Evening was directed by Mayer and Johanna McKeon, with script and special material by Stephen Cole and choreography by Joann Hunter. Roger T. Danforth and Trevor Tamashiro produced, with music director David Evans leading three pieces from the piano.

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