The Drama League honored the incomparable Kristin Chenoweth, the Tony and Emmy Award winning actress, at their annual black tie gala in The Grand Ballroom of the renowned Pierre Hotel on Monday evening February 6, 2012. The petite wonder was a glow with her unique effervescent charm holding court with the press during and after the cocktail hour, prior to dinner. The ever gracious Kristin stayed with the press answering questions long after almost all of the guests, nearly 400 of New York’s most influential arts supports and celebrities, had gone into dinner.
The Drama League’s Artistic Director Robert T. Danforth produced the highly anticipated one night only all star tribute to Kristin. The after dinner musical revue directed by Evan Pappas with a book by Stephen Cole and musical direction by Steve Freeman was marvelous, as usual, featuring dozens of stars from theater, film and television, who came out to honor the gifted and popular Kristin..
Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane made the opening remarks before the show and hailed the work of The Drama League and their Directors Project just before announcing the evening’s first performer, the splendid Joel Grey, who delighted the audience by reprising his fabulous version of “Cabaret.” Joel won a Tony Award playing the emcee and originating the song in the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical that took Broadway by storm in 1966.
Grey even went on to make the 1972 film version with Liza Minnelli winning an Oscar. His impressive start to the musical celebration was sustained by the inspiring performers that followed. They included (in order of appearance) Tony Award-winner Carole Shelley, Tony Award-winner Debra Monk, Marni Nixon, Jason Graae, Andrew Lippa, Tony Award winner Donna Murphy, Josh Young, Nick Jonas, Brent Barrett, Cheyenne Jackson, Elaine Page, Elmo and cast members from Promises, Promises and Wicked. There was also some fantastic video from almost every one of Kristin’s memorable film and television appearances.
The honoree brought additional sparkle to the evening in thanking those in attendance by confessing how much fun she was having saying “My favorite thing is to be on stage and I’m in therapy for it.” Kristin was clearly touched and humbled singing “You’ll Never Know” to everyone with her captivating, unforgettable, uniquely Kristin allure.
The Drama League of New York has been supporting the American Theater community since 1916 and is one of country’s oldest not-for-profit arts organizations. The annual gala, which raises funds for the educational programs of The Drama League Directors Project, began in 1984 to honor exceptional artists whose talent and passion have become a benchmark for others to aspire. By: Patrick Christiano
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Photography: Barry Gordin