The Drama League Winter Benefit Gala honored Steve Martin at the Plaza
By: Patrick Christiano
November 6, 2017: Some of Broadway and Hollywood’s brightest stars applauded Steve Martin, a true renaissance man, at The Plaza, where The Drama League honored him on Monday evening. The League’s 34th Annual Musical Celebration was a vivid reminder of Mr. Martin’s immense talents as not only a successful actor, and comedian, but also a writer, producer, and musician. The man, who plays the piano and the banjo, is a renowned celebrity and yet he retains the goofy down to earth demeanor, which brought him to prominence on The Smothers Brother Comedy Hour in the 1960s.
Now along with being a Kennedy Center Honoree, Mr. Martin is the recipient of The Drama League Award for his contributions to Broadway. On his way to Broadway he has also racked up five Grammy Awards, an honorary Oscar, an Emmy, an American Comedy Award, and The Mark Twain Award. He was the co- creator with Edie Brickell of the Tony nominated musical Bright Star, which the pair wrote and composed winning a Drama Desk Award for Best Music in 2016. Meteor Shower, Mr. Martin’s latest comedy, directed by Broadway legend Jerry Zak opens at the Booth Theater on November 29th.
The League’s Black-Tie evening began with cocktails at 6:30 followed by dinner and the musical celebration of Mr. Martin’s prolific career. The gala, a one-night-only musical tribute to Mr. Martin, featured performances by stars of both stage and screen including special guest appearances by two time Tony winner Judith Light, Emmy winner Carol Kane (“The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), Ed Helms (“The Hangover,” “The Office”), Kermit The Frog, Alex Brightman (School of Rock), Lea DeLaria (“Orange is the New Black”), Jennifer Simard (Hello, Dolly!), and Lauren Worsham (A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder).
Accepting his award Mr. Martin quipped “Theater is not a competition, it’s a fight to the death,” and quoted Jack Benny “I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either.”
The 2017 Arts Ally Award was presented to Chad Stubbs of Pepsico by Judith Light.
Samantha Saltzman, a DL Directors Project alumna, directed the entertaining and funny evening produced by Drama League Associate Producer Travis LeMont Ballenger. The creative team included Timothy Huang (writer), Billy Griffin (choreographer), David Evans (music director), Brandon Pape (associate producer), Melissa Spengler Winner (production stage manager), Nick Kolin (lighting), Michael Tracey (sound), Whitney Locher (costume).
Photography: Barry Gordin