On the Scene
Drama League Awards with Elton John, Jane Fonda and Lauren Graham
Lunchtime with the Hollywood elite!
This year, Hollywood has taken over Broadway and it has never been more clear than it was at the Drama League Awards on Friday afternoon. The Drama League selects the most excellent performances and standout actors on the Broadway stage and throws all the stars together for one grand lunch at the Marriott Marquis before the Tony Awards.
I had the opportunity to join the A-list crowd in the private reception before lunch was served. Here’s a rundown of what was going on behind the scenes.
Jane Fonda, currently starring in 33 Variations, the most prompt of all the stars was the very first person to arrive at the event at 11:00 a.m. and she quietly sat in a private corner of the room with her team of publicists and assistants while the room quickly began to fill. Her table became the queen’s throne as other actors made their way to pay tribute and say hello as soon as they arrived.
A glowing and newly engaged Cynthia Nixon (engaged to Christine Marinoni) arrived next in a skintight black dress. Cynthia quietly spoke with Elton John, complimenting him on his show, Billy Elliott, but apologizing because she hasn’t had a chance to see it yet. She explained that the performances run on the same schedule as her show, Distracted.
Elton John was awarded for “distinguished achievement in musical theatre” by Stephen Daldry, but his assistants warned of his tight schedule and he was quickly ushered out for “financial meetings”.
While Marcia Gay Harden posed for photos, Angela Lansbury chatted with a pal and quietly avoided the glares of the photo lens and all other celebrities. Angela was awarded for her “unique contribution to theater” over her lifetime.
Gilmore Girls star, Lauren Graham, seemed to be the princess to Fonda’s queen. Graham held court herself, chatting up John Lithgow, Bobby Canavale and Carla Gugino. Later she and Cynthia Nixon embraced for a heartfelt hug and catch up conversation. Graham stars as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and enjoys the character so much that she jokingly speaks in her silly, girlish stage accent even offstage. Lauren donned a Diane von Furstenberg flapper style dress and Christian Louboutin stilettos that echoed an outfit her character might wear.
Patrick Wilson said hello to his movie co-star from Watchmen, Carla Gugino, but the always quiet blonde kept mostly to himself, sipping on a drink and conversing with a friend.
Allison Janney and her 9 to 5 co-star, Megan Hilty, were both being honored for their show and each was a little nervous. Allison removed her jacket because she was so warm and Megan practiced her “thank you for recognizing me speech”, fearing she’d sound like a ditzy blonde, too much like her character.
The prettiest award of the afternoon goes to the quiet elegance of Stockard Channing with Jeremy Irons. The gorgeous friends stayed close as they entered the luncheon and Jeremy carefully coerced a few laughs from Stockard while Geoffrey Rush taunted Jane Fonda with jokes, saying, “Hi Jane, keep moving Jane! Stay in line – gold star 15, do not break the line!”
The stars trooped into the luncheon to the tune of the Annie Get Your Gun classic, “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and a standing ovation from the Drama League.
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