Friday, November 12, 2010

Friends embrace

Kay Thompson with her friend Judy Garland, London 1951. This photograph was on display at a book reception for Sam Irvin's new biography, Kay Thompson; From Funny Face to Eloise.
Last Monday night at the Morgan Library and Museum on Madison Avenue, there was a gala dinner hosted by the American Friends of Blerancourt, which supports the French National Museum in the Château de Blérancourt in Picardie, France, the former home of J. Pierpont Morgan’s daughter Anne. The gala served to honor Anne Morgan and her work in France through an exhibit at the Morgan Library and Museum, Anne Morgan's War: Rebuilding devastated France 1917-1924.

The exhibit runs until November 21st. Guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in the newly restored Pierpont Morgan 1906 Library where no photographers were permitted. Gourmet dinner was created and prepared by Celebrity Chef Christian Delouvrier, who received four stars from the New York Times while at Lespinasse at the St. Regis and formerly with Alain Ducasse. Cabaret star Jean Brassard and pianist Kathleen Landis entertained with some favorite songs of Yves Montand.
The table settings
Marquette Debary and Sonja Morgan
Mary Sargent D'Anglejan, President
Elizabeth Stafford with her husband
Nancy Gehman and Mary Sargent D'Anglejan
Richard de Combay and Sonja Morgan
Brian Farrell, Hunt Slonum, and Monique Van Vooren
Brian Farrell, Patricia Duncan, and Jay Paul
Maggie and Nicholas Kirkbride
Janna Bullock, Stuart Sundlun, and Bonnie Pfeifer-Evans
Nancy Gehman and Helen Weber
Philippe Lalliot, Consul General of France
CeCe Black, Elizabeth Stribling, and Patricia Duncan
Rochelle Ohstrom
Also this past Monday night, Rolex presented a starstudded retrospective of glittering moments from past Career Transitions For Dancers Jubilees on the stage at New York City Center with some of the most dazzling dance and theater artists in the world. Angela Lansbury hosted the 90-minute non-stop show of amazing dance and much deserved awards and recognitions which featured stars such as Bebe Neuwirth, Ann Reinking, Chita Rivera, Tommy Tune, Karen Ziemba and Marvin Hamlisch.
Prior to the show, acclaimed sculptor Peter Rubino unveiled the bust he created of his longtime friend, colleague and mentor, artist and arts patron Caroline Newhouse,  who supported the founding of Career Transitions For Dancers. Her granddaughter Amy Bermant Adler was on hand.
Living sculpture
Wayne Gmitter, Michele Riggi, Peter Rubino, Peter Glebo, Tommy Tune, and Tom Contrino
Anka Palitz
Career Transition For Dancers (CTFD), with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, has helped over 4,600 professional dancers in 47 states identify their unique talents in preparation for establishing new careers when dance is no longer an option.

The Career Transition For Dancers’ Awards for Outstanding Contributions to the World of Dance was presented to the organization’s four union founders:  Actors’ Equity Association, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, American Guild of Musical Artists, Screen Actors Guild – Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund; as well as an award each to The Barth Family (Andy, Avery and Carmen Barth) and to the CTFD President Cynthia G. Fischer.   
The Capezio Ballet Makers Dance Foundation presented Trisha Brown with the 59th annual Capezio Dance Award. Famed dancer and choreographer Edward Villella presented The 2010 Rolex Dance Award to Twyla Tharp. 
Most of the awards were presented early in the program allowing the audience to revel in the dynamic artistry of dancers from some of America’s greatest dance companies: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, MOMIX, National Dance Institute, and Parsons Dance. There were show-stopping Broadway numbers from” 42nd Street” (The Audition) and “Chicago” (All That Jazz featuring a sizzling Bebe Neuwirth).
Bebe Neuwirth and cast
Daniil Simkin and Yuriko Kajiya
After the performances, guests headed over to the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton New York for the Anniversary Supper, dancing with the dancers and an extraordinary live auction of once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
The 25th Anniversary Chairs were Michele Herbert, Anka K. Palitz, Nicole Sexton  and Allen Brill, CEO and President of ROLEX. Gala Chairs were Victor Elmaleh, Michele Riggi, James D. Rigler and Susan Fawcett Sosin. The Dinner Chair was  Janice Becker. Auction Chairs were Ann Van Ness and Heléne Alexopoulos Warrick; West Coast Chair was Roberta Silbert; and the Journal Chair was Craig Dix. Vice Chairs were Gayle Conran, Alexander J. Dubé, Mercedes Ellington, Niko Elmaleh, Christina Rose and Irene Shen. Produced and directed by Ann Marie DeAngelo. Executive Producer was Alexander Dube . Honorary Chairs were Cynthia Gregory, Bebe Neuwirth, Sono Osato, Ann Reinking, Chita Rivera, Lisa Niemi Swayze and Tommy Tune. Through their efforts the Jubilee raised over $1.2 million.
Alexandra Warwick and Helene Alexopoulos Warrick
Carmen, Avery, Andy, and Avery Barth
Anthony Giacoio and Trisha Brown
Cynthia Fischer and Ann Barry
Michele Herbert, Allen Brill, and Anka Palitz
Mary Lou Westerfield and Cynthia Gregory
Jill and Emily Adler with sculputer of grandmother
Michele Herbert, Angela Lansbury, and Anka Palitz
Michael and Peter Rabino
Amy Bermant Adler and Peter Rubino
Loren, Michele, and Lawrence Herbert
Mercedes Ellington and Tony Block
Tommy Tune and Mo Rocca
Amy Bermant Adler and Cynthia Gregory
Col John Christian, Patricia Kennedy, Tiffany and Scotty Smiley, Amanda and Major Jake Miller, and Sgt Todd Bowers
Patricia Shiah
Bonnie Comley, Tommy Tune, and Stuart Lane
Edward Villella and Twyla Tharp
Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Villella
Liliane Montevecchi and Peter Martino
Seymour Holtzman, Evelyn Holtzman, and Allen Brill
Nancy Hexter and Cynthia Gregory
Ted and Barbara Bartwink
Malcome Tomson, Vicki Kellogg, and Chris kellogg
Barbara and Donald Tober
Fe Fendi, Susan Fawcett Sosin, and Janice Becker
Michael Salem
Chris Salyer, Chele Chiavacci, and Edward Villella
Patricia Kennedy and Tiffany Smiley
Dr. Alfred Kaltman and Ricelle Grossinger
JB Giangini and Ann Marie DeAngelo
John Wegorzewski and Edward Callaghan
Georgia Mouzakis Tavlanios, Robert Bradford, Barbara Taylor Bradford, and Michael Wise
More from Monday ... Allison and Howard Lutnick hosted a cocktail party in honor of Nobel laureate Dr. Paul Greengard. Dr. Greengard is a Vincent Astor Professor at Rockefeller University and the director of the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research. He recently made a revolutionary discovery in Alzheimer’s Disease, and was awarded the Karolinska Institute’s first ever Bi-Centennial Gold Medal. Also in attendance was Dr. Greengard’s wife, acclaimed sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard, and Kent Karosen, the CEO of the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.
Dr. Paul Greengard, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Kent Karosen, H
Dr. Paul Greengard, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Kent Karosen, and H
Among the attendees were Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Betsy Gotbaum, Georgette Mosbacher, Dr. Manny and Katrina Alvarez, Carol Alt, Dennis Basso and Michael Cominotto, Sherry and Joel Mallin, Marilyn and David Malkin, Nadine and Murray Rubin, Jennifer and Derek Trulson, Marcy and Michael Lehrman, David Hryck, Donna and Roys Poyjiadis, Paola and Arnie Rosenschein, Susan and Chip Fisher, Cynthia Maltese, Catherine Saxton, Lauren Vernon, Gerry and Liz Byrne, Ann and Mark Bryce who flew in from Australia.
Dr. Manny Alvarez and Georgette Mosbacher
Dr. Manny Alvarez and Georgette Mosbacher
Paula and Arnie Rosenschein
Paula and Arnie Rosenschein
Jennifer and Derek Trulson 2
Jennifer and Derek Trulson
Dr. Greengard and Ursula von Rydingsvard
Dr. Greengard and Ursula von Rydingsvard
Howard and Allison Lutnick
Howard and Allison Lutnick
Lauren Vernon and Steve Boxer
Lauren Vernon and Steve Boxer
Michael Cominotto, Howard Lutnick, Dennis Basso
Michael Cominotto, Howard Lutnick, and Dennis Basso
David and Marilyn Malkin and Dr. Greengard
David and Marilyn Malkin and Dr. Greengard
Gerry and Liz Byrne
Gerry and Liz Byrne
Murray and Nadine Rubin
Murray and Nadine Rubin
Dr. Greengard and Betsy Gotbaum
Dr. Greengard and Betsy Gotbaum
Carolyn Maloney and Allison Lutnick
Carolyn Maloney and Allison Lutnick
Carol Alt, Adele Domo, Georgette Mosbacher
Carol Alt, Adele Domo, and Georgette Mosbacher
Allison Lutnick, Kent Karosen and Jennifer Trulson
Allison Lutnick, Kent Karosen, and Jennifer Trulson
Kent Karosen and Dr. Greengard 2
Kent Karosen and Dr. Greengard
Donna and Roys Poyjiadis
Donna and Roys Poyjiadis
My old pal and former editor, Jeff Cason, from the memorable After Dark Magazine days of the ‘70s and ‘80s, telephoned to invite me to a Kay Thompson event, inquiring what I knew about her. “The author of the beloved ‘Eloise’ books,” I responded. “But did you also know ...” he went on – revealing an almost forgotten and fascinating story of an American trendsetter.

Kay Thompson was a best friend and creative mentor of Judy Garland, the vocal guru of many famous musical performers including Lena Horne and Frank Sinatra, godmother to Liza Minnelli (who recreated her nightclub act in her 2009 Tony-Award winning event, Liza at The Plaza).
Sam Irvin, author Kay Thompson, From FUNNY FACE to ELOISE, with Hilary Knight, Illustrator of All "Eloise" Books
Kay Thompson and the Williams brothers - Andy, Dick, Day, Don, and Bob - Breaking records 1948
Kay Thompson and 7-year-old Evelyn Rudie as Eloise in Playhouse 90's adaption, 1956
Playhouse 90 promotion played on screen at the Event
She was not only an author of the “Eloise” books, but was also an actress, vocalist, cabaret performer, dancer, choreographer, radio personality. With Roger Edens, the musical director at MGM she was not only a coach but occasional star of films including “Funny Face” with Fred Astaire.

Her life connected with many of the celebrated from Tennessee Williams – with whom she went to school, as well as Danny Kaye, Cole Porter, to her long-term hushed-up affair with Andy Williams who was more than 20 years her junior.

The marvelous new biography Kay Thompson; From Funny Face to Eloise by filmmaker, Sam Irvin (Director of Guilty as Charged, co-executive Producer of the Academy-Award winning Gods and Monsters ...) opens the door to the brilliantly creative woman who lived and loved far ahead of her time. Sam spent over a decade researching and writing this book. “It will be hard to let her go!” he told me.
Legendary chanteuse Julie Wilson and Patty Farmer
Artist Mel Odem, creator of the Gene Marshall Doll, with Eric Meyer
Mart Crowley, creator of "Boys In The Band," 1968 (also the forthcoming Documentary "The Making of The Boys In The Band")
Janet and Rob Crowder with Molly and Sam
Lois Dragen and Jeff Cason
Dori Lang does an animated Interpretation of Eloise accompanied by David Maddox, Greg Kenna, and Christopher Spaulding
The event at the Lincoln Center Barnes and Noble featured Sam and also Hilary Knight, whose whimsical illustrations of all the "Eloise" books, are stamped on our childhood memories. His tales of traveling the world with the outrageous Kay are fascinating. They would tour to find visual inspiration, he would draw until the wee hours, but then waken the next morn to see that Kay had cut and pasted in new form, all his wonderful work.

Hilary also made a point of stating that the "Eloise" books were initially intended for adults – the child in all of us. My own personal childhood read made staying in hotels always a “Grand Tour” to which I look forward. The evening was magical like the subject of Sam Irwin’s new book.

— Jill Lynne for NYSD
Photographs by Ann Watt (Career Transition for Dancers); Jill Lynne (Eloise)
Click here for NYSD Contents