[flipbook] La Daly had her own cheering section going, too: Longtime pal Marilyn Horne; her stage manager and Herbie in Gypsy, Bob Schear and Jonathan Hadary (who's currently giving a very moving performance Off-Broadway in Paddy Chayefsky's Middle of the Night); the student and the accompanist from her Master Class, Alexandra Silber and Jeremy Cohen. Sharon Gless, who was Christine Cagney to her Mary Beth Lacey, was busy shooting a TV pilot in L.A., but she sent her producer-husband, Barney Rosenzweig, in her place. Brother Tim Daly made it to the party.
Without even trying to be, it was the most star-stacked opening of the season. Bernadette Peters came with Victor Garber, and Marsha Mason with director Jack O'Brien. (These last two will be directing shortly — Mason's doing Chapter Two at the George Street Playhouse and O'Brien's doing Much Ado About Nothing this summer in the park.) Michael Shannon, growing a beard to play The Killer at Theatre for the New City in Brooklyn this summer, escorted his wife and Grace co-star Kate Arrington, and John Cariani showed with Donna Lynne Champlin, who co-starred in his Almost, Maine.
Arriving in one cluster of five Tonys: Donna Murphy, Bill Irwin and Stephen Spinella. (The latter will join Estelle Parsons soon farther up 45th in The Velocity of Autumn.) Then there were Marilu Henner and sons, Diane Von Furstenberg in shades, Christopher Sieber (bouncing from Pippin to Matilda The Musical next month), Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, The Junket's Mike Albo, TV staples Doris Roberts, S. Epatha Merkerson, Eric Bogosian, The Most Deserving Veanne Cox and Cinderella's mean-spirited stepmother, Fran Drescher.
All sat in rapt attention for 90 minutes as Daly and Frederick Weller locked horns over the 20-year-old death of her son/his lover. Another generation was also heard from: His husband (Bobby Steggert) and their six-year-old son (Grayson Taylor), who is the only one to mention the elephant in the room: AIDS.
At the curtain call, a standing ovation was had by all, and the cast brought out McNally and the show's director, Next Fall's Sheryl Kaller. He thanked the audience for giving him the reception he had hoped for 50 years ago when he made his Broadway debut next door at the then-Royale with And Things That Go Bump in the Night— it went hiss and expired like a deflating tire in 16 performances — and he also thanked his producers for believing new American plays have a place on Broadway.
Steggert was right about Sardi's, and this particular gathering of first-nighters could have been blindfolded and, flying on instinct, would have had no problem finding their way, via the Shubert Alley short-cut, to the famous theatrical watering hole.
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