THE PLAYERS HOST PIPE NIGHT HONORING AUDRA MCDONALD
By Isa Goldberg
Radiating elegance, beyond anyone’s pipe dreams, Pipe Night at the Player’s Club (originally the home of Edwin Booth) on Sunday night, October 21st was exactly that.
A Players’ tradition spanning well over a century, with an honor list of recipients from Charlie Chaplin to Frank Sinatra, this year’s Pipe Night honored Audra McDonald, looking as eager and wide eyed as one can imagine she was as a young Julliard student. That freshness and innocence have not been lost on the five- time Tony Award winning actor, who incidentally scooped up two Grammys and a couple of Emmy nods along the way. Hanging out anywhere near Audra is spellbinding, and her many colleagues and admirers were there to say so. Angela Lansbury, Phylicia Rashad, Diane Paulus, Martina Arroyo, Kenny Leon, among others spoke to her daring, selfless exploration as an artist.
Christine Andreas sang her tributes to McDonald with a Gershwin medley, so zealous and nostalgic that one could hardly anticipate her finale, a sparkling rendition of "La Vie en Rose." And New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, unable to attend, issued a proclamation from the City of New York to the evening’s honoree recognizing "her incredible pipes" and "smoking hot talent."
Is there more to say? Well, according to McDonald she was an over sensitive, over dramatic child with very big teeth and flyaway hair. Just a footnote to a great actor and social activist for whom praise is, by now, just too trite. After all, it was me who was having the time of my life.
Photography By Nanette Shaw