|Last Wednesday, June 10th, Central Park Conservancy gathered 800 guests on a gorgeous early summer night for the annual Taste of Summer benefit held at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park. The benefit event, a celebration of Central Park’s beauty and New York’s impeccable cuisine, featured tastings prepared by New York’s finest restaurants, a luxury-filled silent auction and music by DJ Kiss. Taste of Summer was attended by community leaders, philanthropists and prominent New Yorkers who came together to support Central Park Conservancy’s mission of restoring and maintaining Central Park. The event raised $800,000 and was generously sponsored by Macquarie.
Maccioni Restaurants hosted The Taste Café featuring dishes from Le Cirque, Le Cirque Café, Circo and Sirio Ristorante. 35 additional restaurants participated in the annual summer kickoff event serving sample tastings throughout the night. Some of the restaurants that guests enjoyed unique dishes from included: A Voce, Brushstroke, David Burke Fishtail, The Loeb Boathouse Central Park, Rotisserie Georgette, Tao, and Telepan.
|Hosts included Central Park Conservancy Trustees and Event Chairmen: Kristy & Jonathan Korngold, Carol Sutton Lewis & William M. Lewis, Jr., Laurie & Jay Mandelbaum, Gillian & Sylvester Miniter, Melissa Vail & Norman Selby. Guests included: Judy Hart Angelo & John M. Angelo, Paige Hardy, Anne & Bill Harrison, Tracey Huff, Patricia Lansing, Cathy & Bill Ingram, Karen May, Sharon Jacob, Kitty Kempner, Sirio Maccioni, Mauro Maccioni, Michael McLaughlin, Elyse & Michael Newhouse, Lorry & Mark Newhouse, Amie & Tony James, Mitch Silver (Parks Commissioner), and Douglas Blonsky (President & CEO, Central Park Conservancy and Central Park Administrator).|
|The Public Theater held its Annual Gala on Tuesday, June 9th at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The evening began with an al fresco dinner, followed by an 8:00 p.m. performance of THE TEMPEST, featuring Sam Waterston and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
The evening celebrated Oskar and Laurie Eustis, marking his 10th year as Artistic Director of The Public; and Bernard Spitzer (1924-2014) and Anne Spitzer, for their extraordinary support of The Public Theater.
Gala co-chairs for the evening were Audrey Wilf and Pat Fili-Krushel.
|Among those attending: Sting and Trudie Styler, Jon Bon Jovi, Anne Hathaway, Alan Rickman, Julianna Margulies, Christine Baranski, Eliot Spitzer, Steven Soderbergh, Peter Dinklage, Jane Lynch, Sandra Oh, Jennifer Westfeldt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tony Kushner, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jonathan Groff, Laura Benanti, Josh Hamilton, Christopher Jackson, Daveed Diggs, Michael Stuhlbarg, Patrick Page, Marin Ireland, Katie Finneran, Darren Goldstein, Robert Cuccioli, Hoda Kotb, Grace Hightower, Mark Harris, Suzan-Lori Parks, Michael Greif, Lemon Andersen, Thomas Kail, Andy Blankenbuehler, John Collins, Rinne Groff, Michael John LaChiusa, Stephen Trask, Alexandra Shiva, Jonathan Marc Sherman, Nick Pileggi, Adam Shulman, Ron Chernow, Jordan Roth, Gail Papp, Rocco and Deborah Landesman, Lizanne and Barry Rosenstein, Bernie Gersten, BOA New York City Market President Jeff Barker, Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl; Public Theater Board Chair Arielle Tepper Madover; Executive Director Patrick Willingham; Public Theater Associate Artistic Director Mandy Hackett.|
|Academy Award winning actress Julianne Moore was honored on June 8, 2015 by the Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter at the annual “Forget-Me-Not” Gala, An Evening to End Alzheimer’s at The Pierre in Manhattan. Ms. Moore received the Chapter’s Creative Leadership Award for her stunning portrayal of a college professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in Still Alice. Tony Award winning actor David Hyde Pierce presented Ms. Moore with the award.
The Chapter, which marks its 30th year of providing services to New York City’s Alzheimer’s community, raised $1.75 million at the event. Almost 600 members of New York City’s philanthropic, business, health care and Alzheimer’s communities attended the gala emceed by award-winning actor Jonathan Groff, who lost his grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease.
|Kim Campbell, wife of Country Music Hall of Fame singer-songwriter Glen Campbell, received the Chapter’s 2015 Caregiver Leadership Award for heightening awareness about the challenges of caregiving. Their story is captured in the extraordinary documentary “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.”
Other honorees included Mike Schnitzer, Marielle Mindlin Bernstein and 13-year-old Sam Henes, who received Young Leadership Awards for working to promote the Chapter’s programs and raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The gala was chaired by Linda LaGorga, Senior Vice President & Treasurer, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc., and Chapter Board Member.
|Also on hand were actors Victor Garber, Andy Kelso and Sheila Coyle, as well as distinguished members of the research and medical community including Dr. Peter Davies, Dr. Steven Ferris, Dr. Ralph Nixon, Dr. Norman Relkin, Dr. Mary Sano and Dr. Andrew Teich.
New York Giant star cornerback Prince Amukamara and his wife Pilar were joined by six of Prince’s teammates including fullback Henry Hynoski, running backs Andre Williams and Rashad Jennings, linebackers Mark Herzlich and Devon Kennard and placekicker Josh Brown.
Lou-Ellen Barkan, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter, said, “Tonight we are joined by many stars of the screen, stage and even the football field. I would like to thank them for shining a spotlight on this devastating disease. Julianne’s poignant portrayal of someone with early onset Alzheimer’s disease has encouraged a new generation to think about the disease in a way they never have before. As an Alzheimer’s caregiver – on and off the screen – Kim has raised awareness about the demands of this important role. And our young honorees Mike, Marielle and Sam are teaching the community that Alzheimer’s affects people of all ages.
|“I’d also like to thank the other stars in the room tonight: our caregivers – our “everyday heroes” – who don’t always get the recognition they deserve; our brilliant scientists and researchers who spend endless days and nights searching for a cure and effective treatments; and so many other Chapter supporters who are here tonight because you understand just how critical our work is. Together, we will ensure that no one in the Alzheimer’s community has to go it alone,” Barkan concluded.
The evening offered a cocktail reception, spectacular silent and live auctions and dinner and dancing to Hank Lane Music and Productions with Harris Lane, band leader. The live auction was led by Sotheby’s auctioneer Eli Rodriguez.
|On Monday June 1st, the 33rd Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards, which recognizes outstanding achievement in dance on Broadway and in film each season, honored Broadway legend Joel Grey, and film and theatrical producer Harvey Weinstein at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. The gala evening was hosted by 2-Time Drama Desk Award nominee, Christina Bianco.
The evening was presented by Patricia Watt, the Producer of the Astaire Awards and The Douglas Watt Family Fund for the Performing Arts, as well as The Fred Astaire International Dance Studios. For the first time, the awards were live-streamed across the United States.
|It began with a performance of “New York, New York” from the three-time Astaire Award nominated musical “On The Town”. Christina Bianco channeled Kristen Chenowith and Bernadette Peters in a rousing duet of sorts to “Shall We Dance.” She brought some of her other impersonations into the performance including Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli, Sutton Foster and Patti Lupone.
Patricia Watt spoke of the work of the Douglas Watt Foundation, and introduced Executive Director Jessica Zippin to share more about its mission. The foundation works with children, usually on the autism spectrum, to help develop social skills and communication through dance. “For children who are nonverbal, it’s important to learn to communicate through their bodies.”
Following a brief video presentation of the foundation’s work, Tovah Feldshuh introduced the Astaire Awards winner for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theater and Film Harvey Weinstein.
|Jonathan Ritter and Astaire Award Nominee Melanie Moore took to the stage to perform a rendition of “Neverland” from the musical Finding Neverland, which Weinstein produced, followed by a video tribute of dance sequences from his films including “Shakespeare in Love” and “Pulp Fiction”.
Finding Neverland choreographer and Astaire Awards nominee Mia Michaels presented the award to Weinstein. “Not only was he the father of Finding Neverland,” she told the audience, “he was my teacher and my bad ass big brother.”
Harvey Weinstein opened by stating, “I am not leader of Finding Neverland, that’s Diane Paulus. I’m just the bad ass big brother.”
|He also pointed out that Finding Neverland was not nominated for any Tony Awards, yet still makes $1 million a week. He stressed, “We need new voices on Broadway. We need new guys like me on Broadway.”
Weinstein was in film school when he got his first introduction to dance when a girlfriend dragged him to see the musical Chicago and he was mystified by the choreography of Bob Fosse.
“I told my girlfriend, I’m going to make that into a movie,” he said.
Honorary Chair Countess LuAnn DeLesseps and Holt McCallany introduced Jack Rothweiler, President of the Fred Astaire International Dance Studios. Jack discussed the company and introduced the performance choreographed by Steven Powell. Actress Alysia Reiner and David Alan Basche presented the award for Outstanding Choreography in a Feature Film, to Akram Khan (Desert Dancer) who was unable to attend the evening. Desert Dancer’s director Richard Raymond accepted on his behalf.
|Christina Bianco then introduced a performance of “Life Is Like A Train” from On The Twentieth Century with the show’s porters Philip Attmore, Rick Faugno, Drew King and Richard Riaz Yoder. At the conclusion of the performance, the men were surprised with an Astaire Award for Outstanding Dance Ensemble.
Actor Richard Thomas discussed the legacy of Douglas Watt, the namesake of the Astaire Award’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The American Dance Machine For The 21st Century performed an original routine to “Popularity” choreographed by Jo Layton. At the conclusion of the performance Bebe Neuwirth took the stage to introduce The Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award winner Joel Grey. There was a musical medley of some of Grey’s most famous performances including Cabaret and Chicago performed by Leeds Hill, Scott Wise, Ryan Silverman and Lee Roy Reams.
|Joel’s daughter Jennifer Grey recalled when she was six, sitting in his dressing room watching him put on his face makeup to become The Emcee. She noticed that as he was applying more and more of the makeup, the less of her father she saw and more he became the character. However more than being a performer, she said that his bigger accomplishment is how he lives his life and his “gigantic” heart. “This world is just markedly better for him being here,” she said.
When accepting his award, Joel Grey said, “I’m reminded that I’ve always been in love with dance and always will.” His path to dance was a rough one, he said sharing stories of his childhood dance teacher yelling at him for having a tough time breaking into dance. His first paid performance was in a Jones Beach Dance show called Mardi Gras. After nearly giving up, Hal Prince called him for a show he thought Joel was right for: Cabaret.
|Charlotte d’Amboise then presented the Astaire Award for Outstanding Male Dancer -- a tie for Robert Fairchild (An American In Paris) and Tony Yazbeck (On The Town).
Lee Roy Reams and Scott Wise presented the Astaire Award for Outstanding Female Dancer to Leanne Cope (An American In Paris). Kathleen Marshall and Patricia Wilcox presented the award for Outstanding Choreography on Broadway to Joshua Bergasse (On The Town) and Christopher Wheeldon (An American In Paris). Bergasse shared that he started dancing when he was a 3-year-old in his mother’s basement and dedicated the award to her.
The award ceremony concluded with a performance by Studio Bleu Dance Center.
|On Monday June 8th, they held the 6th Annual Solving Kids' Cancer Spring Celebration at 583 Park Avenue, honoring Roger Jeffs PhD, president and Co-CEO of United Therapeutics, and Yoganathan Ratheesan, Founder and Chairman of Lebara Group, who received the Wings of Hope Award.
The 2015 benefit celebrated the renewal of spring and children everywhere.The evening was hosted by Donna Karan, Gabby Karan De Felice, Bonnie Young, Jan Planit and Latham Thomas. PIX 11's Lisa Mateo was Mistress of Ceremonies. The benefit raised $650,000. Music during the cocktail hour was provided 12-year-old DJ Fulano followed by remarks by the charity's co-founders John London and Scott Kennedy.
After Mr. Jeffs and Mr. Ratheesan received their awards, 14-year-old Celia Babini, daughter of designer Bonnie Young, and photographer Luca Babini performed Questioning Constellations, a song she wrote especially for Solving Kids' Cancer accompanied by Wes Hutchinson.
|Following the dinner, guests were introduced to 19-year-old Elana Simon during The Research Spotlight. Elana co-authored a study on a rare form of liver cancer, fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, which she was diagnosed with at age 12. At the age 16 she helped to discover a genetic mutation by having other patients send her samples of their tumor tissue through a Youtube video she posted. Today because of Elana’s finding the first diagnostic tests and new treatments are now being developed.
The Starfish Parable adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley was eloquently read by supermodel Frederique van der Wal. The Golden Star Awards were presented by actor Josh Lucas, to some very special stars; children facing unimaginable challenges with courage and inspiring strength. Eleven deserving heroes received a medal and a hug from Josh which concluded with a standing ovation from the audience.
|Lastly Christie’s Senior Vice President, International Director of Strategic Partnerships Lydia Fenet, led the Wings for a Cure Live Auction which raised its goal of $300,000. 100% of the funds raised will be used for the SKC initiative to help create the first clinical trials using combination checkpoint inhibition immunotherapy clinical trials for childhood brain tumors and neuroblastoma.
Among those attending: Luca Babini, MacDella Cooper, Jennifer Creel, Gianpaolo De Felice, Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, Stephen Ferber, Angelina Jolin, Catherine London, Henrik Lundqvist, Christine Mack, Morris Moinian, Maria Giulia Prezioso, Alexandra Lind Rose, Amy Sacco, Ellin Saltzman, Jane Sutherland, Anatol Yusef.
Photographs by Patrick McMullan