Julian Robertson, John Lithgow Toast Musicals, Museums at GalasKatya Kazakina, Mary Romano and Amanda Gordon
Museum of Modern Art talks expansion for more art, visitors
Public Theater’s ‘Hair to Hamilton’ revue honors its shows
The Public Theater and the Museum of Modern Art didn’t need a balmy June evening to put guests at their annual benefits in an upbeat mood. Instead, under gray skies, with a chill in the air, patrons on Monday celebrated something better than the weather: institutions on a roll.
At MoMA, guests including Daniel Sundheim, Anne Dias, and Julian Robertson mingled in the sculpture garden and some talked about the museum’s expansion in progress -- including a just-opened cafe with striking marble. They had a beautiful indoor space to eat dinner -- the museum’s spacious lobby. The event raised $4.1 million.
At the Public’s party, the outdoor dinner next to the Delacorte Theater in Central Park was canceled, leaving Anne Black, president of Goldman Sachs Gives, to nibble dumplings while showing off a friend’s new app, Localini. Other guests chatted about a Stephen Sondheim musical in the works at the Public, based on two films by Luis Bunuel.
Tony awards for “Hamilton” and “Fun Home” are just two recent wins that have artistic director Oskar Eustis casting his eye to the nonprofit’s future. “The Public has always been a little fragile,” Eustis said in an interview. “We need to sink the pillars in.”
The evening’s gala helped by raising $2.8 million, which the Public said is a record for the theater.
Giving out about 100,000 free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park may not add to the bottom line, but it fulfills the institution’s mission to make theater accessible. “Julius Caesar,” directed by Eustis, is on through June 18 at the Delacorte. In July, Danny Burstein, who attended the gala, will star with Annaleigh Ashford and Phylicia Rashad in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
At the gala, the one-night only “Hair to Hamilton” featured songs from musicals that got their start at the Public. John Lithgow added some political punch, singing the “Major General’ song from “The Pirates of Penzance” as Michael Flynn, the national security adviser under President Donald Trump who resigned in February. In another song, Performers swiveled their hips to “Populism, Yea, Yea!” from “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”
“So I was chosen national security advisory until I let the crafty Russian secret service hire me. Now I’ve become the target of a special counsel crime report,” went some of the lyrics by Lithgow and the show’s director, Daniel Sullivan.
Would Trump be given tickets to “Hamilton” or any other Public Theater production?
“Of course. We’d be delighted to have him,” Eustis said.
Meanwhile at MoMA’s Party in the Garden, Glenn Lowry, the museum’s director, said there’s a lot of excitement about the additional visitors and art the museum will handle when the renovation and expansion -- an increase of exhibition space by 30 percent -- is complete in 2019.
“If you are a museum director, it’s not a bad problem to have,” Lowry said.
Lowry courted Glenn Dubin as a trustee by inviting him on a 6 a.m. bike ride in Central Park.
“It’s the closest I’ve come to cardiac arrest,’’ Dubin said.
Earlier in the day, the painting and sculpture committee accepted Dubin’s donation of a portrait by artist Alice Neel, according to trustee Michael Ovitz.
More than 50 female artists are currently on view in “Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction,” including Lee Krasner and the lesser known Venezuelan Gertrud Goldschmidt, known as Gego.
Dubin and his wife Eva, along with Susan and David Rockefeller Jr., were honored in front of artists including Brice Marden, Sarah Sze, Julie Mehretu and Lawrence Weiner.
“I looked down from the stage and was very intimidated,” Dubin said.