Scene Last Night: Steinhardt, Chua, Kissinger at ‘War Horse’

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jed Rubenfeld, author of "The Death Instinct"; Amy Chua, author of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," and John Makinson, chairman of the National Theatre and chief executive of the Penguin Group. On exposing her children to theater, Chua said, "We play charades. I use 'sounds like' a lot because I'm analytical. My husband acts it out more."

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jed Rubenfeld, author of "The Death Instinct"; Amy Chua, author of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," and John Makinson, chairman of the National Theatre and chief executive of the Penguin Group. On exposing her children to theater, Chua said, "We play charades. I use 'sounds like' a lot because I'm analytical. My husband acts it out more." Close

Jed Rubenfeld, author of "The Death Instinct"; Amy Chua, author of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," and John... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Leila Straus, chairman of the American Associates of the National Theatre. Close

Leila Straus, chairman of the American Associates of the National Theatre.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Henry and Nancy Kissinger with Nigel and Julia Sheinwald. Nigel Sheinwald is the British ambassador to the U.S. Close

Henry and Nancy Kissinger with Nigel and Julia Sheinwald. Nigel Sheinwald is the British ambassador to the U.S.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Photographer

Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre. Close

Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Susan Wilen, American Associates of the National Theatre board member. Close

Susan Wilen, American Associates of the National Theatre board member.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Tom Morris and Marianne Elliott, directors of "War Horse," with Andre Bishop, artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater. Close

Tom Morris and Marianne Elliott, directors of "War Horse," with Andre Bishop, artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Dr. Andrew Heffernan, Anna Lundberg, and Natasha Graham, chairman of the Young Patrons of the National Theatre. Close

Dr. Andrew Heffernan, Anna Lundberg, and Natasha Graham, chairman of the Young Patrons of the National Theatre.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Matthew O'Neill, senior associate at CLSA Credit Agricole Securities USA Inc., wearing a Hermes tie, and Allison Lloyds, a therapist, in a dress by Twinkle. Close

Matthew O'Neill, senior associate at CLSA Credit Agricole Securities USA Inc., wearing a Hermes tie, and Allison... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Bunting, streamers, cherry blossoms, and teapots suspended in air helped create a whimsical atmosphere at the gala. Close

Bunting, streamers, cherry blossoms, and teapots suspended in air helped create a whimsical atmosphere at the gala.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Isaac Mizrahi, designer; Olivia Flatto, scientist, and Caroline Cronson, who supports the Works & Process program at the Guggenheim museum. Close

Isaac Mizrahi, designer; Olivia Flatto, scientist, and Caroline Cronson, who supports the Works & Process program at... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Boomberg

Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext, and Caroline Hoare, a London-based hedge fund executive and a member of the NT's corporate advisory board. Close

Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext, and Caroline Hoare, a London-based hedge fund executive and a member of the... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Michael Steinhardt. Close

Michael Steinhardt.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Joey, the war horse of the Handspring Puppet Company, makes an appearance at the gala live auction. Close

Joey, the war horse of the Handspring Puppet Company, makes an appearance at the gala live auction.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jude Sandy performs as a puppeteer for the two horses and a goose in "War Horse." The work is physically strenuous. "I've never been in such good shape," Sandy said. Close

Jude Sandy performs as a puppeteer for the two horses and a goose in "War Horse." The work is physically strenuous.... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Michael Morpurgo wrote the children's novel "War Horse" on which the play is based. His next book is about the pied piper. Close

Michael Morpurgo wrote the children's novel "War Horse" on which the play is based. His next book is about the pied piper.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Cast members of "War Horse": Brian Lee Huynh, David Pegram, Joel Reuben Ganz, Sanjit De Silva, and Jonathan David Martin. To warm up for shows, the cast plays boxball with nine squares. "It's good for vocalizing and breathing," said De Silva. Close

Cast members of "War Horse": Brian Lee Huynh, David Pegram, Joel Reuben Ganz, Sanjit De Silva, and Jonathan David... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Seth Numrich, who plays the boy, Albert, in "War Horse." Close

Seth Numrich, who plays the boy, Albert, in "War Horse."

London’s National Theatre jumped over the pond last night to reach donors in New York.

Taking advantage of the company’s originating role in the play “War Horse,” now in previews at Lincoln Center Theater, the American Associates of the National Theatre threw a gala.

“We entertain large New York audiences at our shows in London, so fundraising here feels natural, organic and easy,” John Makinson, the chairman of the National Theatre, who is also the chairman and chief executive of the publisher Penguin Group Inc., said.

“‘The History Boys’ paved the way,” Leila Straus said of an earlier NT production that made it to Broadway. She is chairman of the American Associates group.

At 6:30 p.m., audience members tucked into their seats for the play, which follows a boy and his horse from the countryside of Devon to the trenches in France during World War I.

The audience frequently applauded and at intermission, they stocked up on tissues. At curtain, they awarded the puppets by Handspring Puppet Company and the puppeteers a standing ovation.

As they made their way to the dinner tent, guests had other attractions: a cavalry of trumpeters and a few real horses. The tent was decorated by David Stark with teapots, a Maypole, and portraits of the U.K. royal family members. The menu included English pea soup, Yorkshire pudding, and stout-braised beef.

Among the 600 guests were Michael Steinhardt, chairman of asset-management company WisdomTree Investments Inc.; Duncan Niederauer, chief executive officer of NYSE Euronext; David A. Coulter, managing director at Warburg Pincus LLC, and Roy Furman, vice chairman of Jefferies & Co.

Fashion, Authors

There was also hedge-fund executive Caroline Hoare, who is on the corporate advisory board of the NT; fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi and recent authors Henry Kissinger, Amy Chua, and her husband Jed Rubenfeld.

Joey, the play’s puppet-horse star, clomped in the live auction, neighing and snorting, wagging his tail, wiggling his ears.

“He is no Mr. Ed,” the artistic director of the National Theater, Nicholas Hytner, said.

“War Horse” is based on a children’s novel by Michael Morpurgo.

“My goal is to inform young people about the grief and the pain of war,” said Morpurgo, wearing a blousy royal-blue bow tie that his wife designed. “I hate those horrible little things that men have to wear.”

The play has been a hit for the NT, transferring to the West End in 2009, where it is still running. It also has the cachet, like “The History Boys,” of being turned into a film. Steven Spielberg has directed the screen version, set for a late December release in the U.S.

Revised Script

Judging from buzz at the party, the New York production is likely to take off. It features a new American cast and a revised script.

“The staging is clearer,” said Andre Bishop, Lincoln Center Theater’s artistic director.

“To me the most wonderful thing about the play is the physical excitement of this inanimate object brought to life,” said New Yorker writer Philip Gourevitch.

Seth Numrich’s disbelief is suspended while he plays the part of the boy who raises the horse.

“Before I started rehearsal, I was wondering what it would be like to have to pretend there was a horse,” said Numrich, who for the party had swapped his soldier’s uniform for a slim- fitting Theory suit. “From day one, the work the puppeteers do is so incredible. It always feels that I’m working with an animal -- until I accidentally step on a puppeteer’s foot.”

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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