June 21 (Bloomberg) -- A crowd in sundresses and khakis partied yesterday on behalf of the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park and raised $1.3 million to support the distribution of free tickets this summer season.
Rachel Nichols stood near the entrance of the Delacorte Theater with her boyfriend, UBS structured credit trader Mark McCauley, and the Public Theater’s chairman, Warren Spector.
“She’s starring in two new movies,” said Spector, the former co-president of Bear Stearns, now chairman of Tashtego Films and an able publicist.
There’s “Conan the Barbarian,” and “Bird of the Air,” a romantic comedy Spector is producing.
“I don’t have to kill anyone in it,” Nichols noted.
“She’s only lethal as a heart breaker,” Spector added.
Then the trio moved on to cocktails and supper followed by a performance of “All’s Well That Ends Well.” That captured the mood for Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky, who left holding hands.
Steve Martin, Lily Rabe, Hamish Linklater, Josh Charles and Mandy Patinkin also made appearances.
Others went on to dancing and dessert at the cutely scenic Belvedere Castle. Maura Tierney and Rob Morrow (wearing yellow sneakers) ended the evening sitting on a step admiring the stillness of the park.
At the supper, Liev Schreiber and Oskar Eustis, the artistic director of the Public, delivered tributes to the honorees, Time Warner and Gail Merrifield Papp, the widow of the founder of the Public and Shakespeare in the Park, Joseph Papp.
Speaking of her husband’s vision of free theater for New Yorkers, she said: “He once said, it’s as important as free access to the New York Public Library.”
Once the trays of pink macaroons had been emptied, volunteers herded guests into their theater seats so they could watch others have fun, though this did not include the lovely, lonely Helena. She sits and weeps as everyone on stage dances a fabulous waltz.
The crowd received the production warmly. “It’s the best ’All’s Well That Ends Well’ I’ve seen,” said actor Ben Shenkman after the performance, “and that means I can never see another one.”
Those who stayed past midnight at Belvedere Castle had the chance to see the play’s stars, Annie Parisse (Helena) and Andre Holland (Bertram) in street clothes hanging out with cast members and friends.
Many left with a Penguin Classics tote bag containing a copy of the play and a chocolate bar.
“Broadway Bares,” the theater industry’s annual soft-core flesh fest, played two sold-out performances Sunday night, raising a record $1,015,985 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Presented at Roseland Ballroom, “Broadway Bares XXI: Masterpiece!” took the art world as its inspiration, with Josh Rhodes directing and 200 dancers participating.
Beth Leavel -- currently appearing in “Baby It’s You!” -- opened with “Going, Going, Gone,” written by Matthew Sklar and Chad Bequelin and backed by an array of barely clad chorus boys. The song had its fair share of raunchy lyrics and tone, including a half-naked Jesus bursting out of “The Last Supper.” None of the lyrics is quotable here.
One dance took off from Rene Magritte, incorporating aerial stunts using the artist’s signature umbrellas.
Broadway vet Hunter Foster wove in topical humor. Targets included Anthony Weiner, Lady Gaga, “Glee,” Tracy Morgan and Brooke Shields.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
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