Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A real New Yawk kinda day

Claudia Overstrom, Christina Addison, and Christina Smith
Melania Trump and Susie Hilfiger
Elizabeth Fuller, Leslie Coleman, and Lisa Errico
On a rainy Thursday morning, Susie Hilfiger, owner of Best & Co. and sponsor of this year’s Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Bunny Hop and Melania Trump (Bunny Hop’s Honorary Chair) joined hands again to support The Center’s Department of Pediatrics’ Clown Care Program in Bergdorf Goodman’s BG restaurant. 
The elegant dining room overlooking Fifth Avenue was filled to overflowing with SMSKCC Board members, customers, fashion press and VIPS including Bergdorf’s CEO Jim Gould, Rachel Roy, Society Associates’ Chair Christina Smith, Bunny Hop Co-chairs Lisa Errico, Christina Addison and Elizabeth Fuller, Aerin Lauder, Mary Davidson, Lucy Sykes Rellie, Hillary Dick, Linda Fargo and Eugenie Niven, Susie’s pretty daughter Ally Hilfiger with musician Jason Rowe, Claudia Overstrom, Leslie Heaney, Bambi de la Gueronniere, Anne Randell, Jane Borthwick, Anna Pinheiro and Leslie Coleman.

Jill Ackerman, Manager of The Cancer Center’s Department of Pediatrics, spoke about the importance of Clown Care. The clowns from the Big Apple Circus are specially trained to be sensitive to the children’s needs. Many of the youngsters have found themselves suddenly in a strange place, isolated from friends and family and going through sometimes painful treatments that they don’t understand. The Clowns visit several times a week bringing laughter and gentle humor. They will come to be with a child, personally when the patient has to go through a scary procedure. They are invaluable in calming down the children and even making them smile. Of course, this helps tremendously to relieve the anxiety of the parents as well.
Best & Co. donated 10% of all sales from the day of shopping to this ongoing Clown Care mission. Between that and the allure of the extremely well made clothing, supporters such as Kimberly Flaster, Gretchen Gunlocke Fenton, Melanie Holland, Mary Darling, Barbara McLaughlin, Martha O'Brien, Laura Yaggy, Olivia Striffler, Elena Stephanopoulos and Christine Cachot Williams made a bee line into the shop which was right next door on the 7th floor.
Melanie Seymour Holland and Leslie Heaney
Lucy Sykes Rellie and Ally Hilfiger
Rachel Roy and Melania Trump
Linda Fargo, Anna Porcella Pinheiro, and Amy Dwek
Jill Ackerman
Melania Trump, Jim Gold, and Susie Hilfiger
Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer
Caryn Zucker
Eugenie Niven
Bambi de la Gueronniere and Mary Davidson
Kim Flaster and Martha O'Brien
Hilary Dick and Leslie Coleman
Last Tuesday in the historic Great Hall on Ellis Island out in the New York harbor across from Miss Liberty, four esteemed individuals were honored by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. for their contributions to the American Experience. The date marked the 100th anniversary of the record-breaking day at Ellis Island: April 17, 1907, when 11,747 immigrants were processed, more than double a normal day.

The Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards,given annually to a select number of Port of New York and Ellis Island immigrants or their descendants, were presented by Tommy Lasorda, Foundation Board Member, and Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, in an 11:00 a.m. ceremony hosted by Lynn Sherr of ABC News at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

The 2007 honorees are: John Mack – Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley. His grandfather entered America through Ellis Island Bill Novelli CEO of AARP. He began a second career in public service in 1990 after retiring from Porter Novelli, one of the world's largest public relations agencies, which he co-founded. He is the grandson of an Ellis Island immigrant. Mike Krzyzewski – Known by fans as “Coach K” of the three-time National Champion Duke University Blue Devils basketball team, he is the winningest coach in NCAA Tournament history. His grandfather came to America through Ellis Island.

PEOPLING OF AMERICA AWARD:  The  2007 Peopling of American Award honored Josie Natori. Born in the Philippines, Natori came to America in 1964 to study economics, later becoming an investment banker at Merrill Lynch. In 1976, ready to move on to something more creative, she boldly quit her job and ultimately reconfigured the lingerie industry as CEO of Natori Company.

The honorees received a framed copy of the original ship’s passenger manifest documenting the arrival of their family in America, obtained from the database of the American Family Immigration History Center® at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and online at www.ellisisland.org. The database contains the arrival records of the more than 25 million people who entered through the Port of New York and Ellis Island from 1892-1924. Forty percent of Americans have family immigration records in this database.
Robert Monteleone, Jenna Mack, Christy Mack, John J. Mack, and Stephen Mack
Tommy Lasorda, Bill Novelli with the 1897 manifest of his grandfather's arrival through Ellis Island, and Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne
John Turbidy, Gene Bay and Tina Santi Flaherty, Josie Natori, John J. Mack and Bill Novelli
Tommy Lasorda, John J. Mack with the 1903 manifest of his grandfather's arrival through Ellis Island, and Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne
Tina Santi Flaherty and Josie Natori
Bill Novelli
Stephen A. Briganti with John J. Mack and the Mack family
Stephen A. Briganti, Ken Natori, Kenneth Natori, and Gene Bay
Lynn Sherr, Mistress of Ceremonies
Kenneth Natori, Tina Santi Flaherty, Mrs. Cruz, and Josie and Ken Natori
Tommy Lasorda, John J. Mack, Josie Natori, Bill Novelli, and Dirk Kempthorne
Cynthia Garrett

Last Thursday evening, Wynn Handman, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of The American Place Theatre was toasted by a gathering of theater and film luminaries at a reception in his honor hosted by David Kener, Executive Director The American Place Theatre and John Martello, Executive Director, The Players at their historic home on Gramercy Park.

Mr. Martello officially welcomed Handman as an Honorary Member to the renowned club founded by actor Edwin Booth, and which counts among its past members such illustrious figures as John Barrymore, Helen Hayes, Ernest Hemingway, Lauren Bacall and even a President – Grover Cleveland.

Wynn Handman and Calvin Trillin
The crowd included a number of actors, writers and directors who had either studied with the honoree, or appeared in one of The American Place Theatre’s d productions over the last four and a half decades. Olympia Dukakis with her husband, actor Louis Zorich, recounted hilarious tales from the early days including the time she locked herself in a bathroom and refused to work with a director, forcing Wynn to come back to town and talk her into coming out. Veteran musical comedy star currently in rehearsals for the Broadway musical Xanadu, Tony Roberts confessed to being a “Wynn drop out who sold out to Broadway”.

Writer and humorist Calvin Trillin and David Kener also sang the praises of the legendary teacher to a crowd that included Handman’s wife Barbara, the Theatre’s Chairman of the Board Peter Klestadt and wife Trish, Managing Director Jennifer Barnette, producer Barbara Ligeti, Bruce Michael, Susan Hill, Kathryn and Gary Andreassen, Bruce Sloane, Linda Amiel Burns, the Drama Desk’s Randie Levine Miller, actors Tessa Ferrer(granddaughter of Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney) Rob Wilson, Bobby Abid, Frank Shattuck, Marilyn Dodds and Allan Dodds Frank. 

WynnHandman has been instrumental in bringing to the stage the early work of many of America’s finest playwrights including Ed Bullins, Maria Irene Fornes, JonathanReynolds, Robert Ribman, Sam Shepard and Steve Tesich. He has introduced plays by writers such as Robert Lowell, Joyce Carol Oates and Sylvia Plath and presented writer/performers early in their careers including Bill Irwin, Eric Bogosian and John Leguizamo. One of the country’s most revered acting teachers for over 50 years he has trained thousands of actors including James Caan, Kathleen Chalfant, Sandy Duncan, Joel Grey, Raul Julia, Susan Lucci, Burt Reynolds, Tony Roberts, Anna Deavere Smith, Mira Sorvino, Christopher Walken, Denzel Washington and Joanne Woodward. 

The induction of Wynn Handman into The Players was also the official kickoff to the upcoming gala Wynn, Place & Show, a monumental double header celebration of Handman’s 85th Birthday and the 45th Anniversary of The American Place Theatre on May 21 at The Hudson Theatre.

The evening’s alumni chairs are Ed Bullins, Chris Cooper, Michael Douglas, Maria Irene Fornes, Richard Gere, Allison Janney, Woodie King Jr., John Leguizamo, Emily Mann and Denzel Washington.

In true American Place style, the gala will unconventionally combine witty intelligent satire with all the elements of an elegant dinner-dance and will feature a specially created performance piece written by Jonathan Reynolds and directed by Ed Sherin.   Among the long list of accomplished world class actors who were either trained by Handman or got their start at The American Place Theatre. participating in this historical salute are: Alec Baldwin, Eric Bogosian, Doris Roberts, Phyllis Newman, Tony Roberts, Mark Rydell, Dael Orlandersmith, Marian Seldes, Richard Schiff and Sam Shepard.
Barbara Handman
Barbara Blackburn and Jennifer Barnette
Gary and Kathryn Andreassen
Barbara Ligeti and Bobby Abid
Chris Norwood, Tessa Ferrer, and John Norwood
David Kener with Trish and Peter Klestadt
John Martello, Wynn Handman, and Edward Callaghan
Louis Zorich, Wynn Handman, and Olympia Dukakis
Tony Roberts, Olympia Dukakis, and David Kener
Frank Shattuck
Marilyn Dodds with brother Allan Dodds Frank
Randie Levine Miller and Tony Roberts
Peter Klestadt signs Wynn Handman's Birthday Card
Susan Hill and Bruce Michael
Wynn Handman gets a hug from Olympia Dukakis

Photographs by James Casserly & Elena Olivio (Ellis Island); ©atrick McMullan Inc/ Scott Rudd PMc (MSKCC)
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