Togetherness is the business of the moment

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The magnolias in Central Park. Photo: JH.

Monday, April 19, 2021. April showers and some chilly breezes with occasional Sun best describes the past weekend in New York.  There seemed to be a lot more traffic which led this writer to assume that more people stayed in town. And they filled the restaurants, no doubt just happy to be out among us all.

We’re now into that time of the year where the philanthropic and charitable organizations are fund-raising. There is an obvious change, a difference brought on by the “pandemic” — the social distancing, even the see-no-people together continues. So far the bigger organizations are pulling in their projected numbers, which is good. BUT, (and it is the biggest But), the in-person activities are the most important on several levels. 

Evelyn Lauder at the BCRF Hot Pink Party in 2011. Photo: Patrick McMullan

An example is the famous BCRF luncheons started back in the ‘90s by its founder Evelyn Lauder is still pulling in their seven-figures donations. That is not accidental; the BCRF gang has created a community of donors. It’s almost like they’re “friends of yours.” That’s because that was the feeling that Evelyn herself promoted and engaged in. Their semi-annual luncheons and dinners brought out big numbers attending. They’re inspiring to the attendees because there is a sense of working together to solve a major problem for all of us. That is the true nature of charity: all of us. While the tech substitute — the Virtuals — is interesting and curious to see and maybe use, we’re all on the outside looking in. That’s not “together.”

The Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy’s biggest individual fundraiser is their Hat Luncheon which for years has been held in the Park’s Conservatory Garden and had grown to drawn an enormous crowd (hundreds), all dressed and gussied up for the “celebration” of the support for the good of the public park. Again, like the BCRF galas, the “hats” brought out the crowds — hundreds of women “dolled up” with their hats were not only fun (even at times funny and often witty) but the “draw.” Millions were donated under those tented luncheons. It was a celebration which was impacted by its numbers (of hats) and it mood and attitude: yes, it can be done (by all — thanks to you).

That’s what is missing in our world right now. In many lives it has already taken a terrible toll. What is most unfortunate about that right now, is we need each other. We need to be together, to remind ourselves of the importance and safety of our community which is suffering from isolation and the accompanying isolating acts.

So, back to the business of the moment: fund-raising. Last Wednesday, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society held their “Kickoff Celebration” — their national campaign to find The Man and Woman of the Year — (who raises the most money for blood  cancer research ). Shirley Rosenthal got involved and sent this letter out to friends which is how I heard about it.

As you know Peter (Heywood – Shirley’s husband) lost his forty-year-old daughter Alix to brain cancer five years ago, leaving behind two small children. Peter’s grief will always be with him, but he rejoiced when his son in law found a tender, caring partner, Lahnie Strange.

Alix Heywood with Finn, who is now 12.

Lahnie has just been nominated to compete for New York in the national Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) Man and Woman of the Year fundraising contest where teams across the country compete towards raising funds for cancer research. Every dollar donated to LLS goes far beyond blood cancer, involving several other diseases, including diabetes, brain, bone, lung, liver and breast cancer research.

The goal of Lahnie’s NY Team is to raise $150 000. Once the first $50,000 has been surpassed, a research grant will be named in honor of Peter’s daughter, Alix.

Alix with Lilah, who is now 9.

All members of the family are involved in helping Lahnie’s NY team reach (or exceed) the destined goal.  FINN, Alix’s now 12-year-old is hosting a chess tournament, LILAH, now 9 years old, is creating, selling and delivering in the NY area an assortment of home baked goods, PETER is donating a Florentine framed painting to be auctioned, and I am donating and writing this letter to my friends and colleagues in the hopes they will consider making a contribution to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). You can reach Lahnie at:

A Florentine framed painting by Peter Heywood to be auctioned off in memory of his daughter Alix, to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

And then in another part of the forest, in these bleak times for actors, artists and theatre people, The Actors Fund — the national human services organization for everyone in performing arts and entertainment —  along with Doyle Auctioneers  & Appraisers, are pleased to partner with Christine Baranski on an auction event without precedent: “Stage & Screen.” 

Christine Baranski wearing a Robert Turturice gold beaded dress worn at the 48th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (September 8, 1996) when nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Cybill, 1996. Estimate: $800 – $1,200. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

The items being offered at auction include a diverse array of memorabilia from the performing arts as well as lots that include original drawings, scenic and costume designs, photographs, meaningful wardrobe and one-of-a-kind memorabilia. 

Collectors and fans around the world are invited to participate digitally in this landmark live auction event on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 beginning at 10:00 AM ET.

The Current selection of items can be viewed by visiting HERE.

While a portion of proceeds from every item sold as part of “Stage & Screen” will benefit The Actors Fund, Ms. Baranski is curating a collection of donated lots for which 100% of the hammer price goes entirely to The Actors Fund organization. She personally has donated three gowns that she wore for appearances at the Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards and Kennedy Center Honors.

Talk about Spring Cleaning!  The actress also asked her friends and colleagues of stage and screen to lend support to this meaningful auction. She said the response has been extraordinary. 

“Our colleagues in the performing arts need our support during this incredibly difficult time of crisis. The Actors Fund has provided a much-needed lifeline to our industry, and their work is nothing short of miraculous. I’m excited to see what Dolly Parton, Cher, Julie Andrews, Bruce Springsteen and over more than twenty incredible stage and screen legends havae pulled out of their closet! Let’s support The Actors Fund in what I know will be a fun, hopeful and nostalgic event!”

Highlights from the auction will be:

The Golden Globe Award Presented to Celeste Holm for Best Supporting Performance in Gentleman’s Agreement, 1947. Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000.

Celeste Holm’s Golden Globe awarded in 1947 for Gentlemen’s Agreement; Golden Age Hollywood and Theatre Memorabilia from the Celeste Holm Collection; The Estate of Thomas P. Lacy featuring classic Broadway costume & set designs; A Wolverine jacket from Hugh Jackman’s closet; Boots, jeans and t-shirt from Bruce Springsteen; Bette Midler is donating a Black sequin gown made by David Dalrymple worn at Hulaween 2014 and the ITV Special “It’s The Girls” in the UK; A Banjo signed by Steve Martin; Iconic glasses from Elton John; Bob Mackie dresses from Carol Burnett; The Dolce & Gabbana dress worn by Glenn Close on the Red Carpet of the opening night of Sunset Boulevard on 2/9/17; The Leather Suit that Alan Cumming wore to the Tony Awards when he won the Best Actor in a Musical in 1998 for “Cabaret”; A collection of signed books from Julie Andrews; An Oscar de la Renta gown worn by Renée Fleming to sing at the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II in 2012 on the balcony of Buckingham Palace (with Alfie Boe); A limited edition leather bound copy of the screenplay of Downton Abbey (the first film) signed by Director, writer, producer and cast; Screen worn leather jackets from “The Good Wife”; The Dress won by Tina Fey to the 2013 Emmy Awards where she won for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for 30 Rock. And there’s many more lots to choose from!

Since March 18, 2020, The Actors Fund has provided more than $20 million in emergency financial assistance to  more than 15,800 people who work in performing arts and entertainment. With shutdowns on Broadway and in film and television, theater, concerts, dance, music and many other areas of entertainment, the need is great and still growing. This emergency financial assistance is helping the most vulnerable and those in financial crisis to cover basic living expenses, such as food, essential medications, utilities and more.

All proceeds from viewer donations will go directly to The Actors Fund, helping to support programs that foster stability and resiliency and serve as a safety net to everyone in performing arts and entertainment.

The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that fosters stability and resiliency and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan. Through offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Fund serves everyone in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance with programs including social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and secondary employment and training services.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s autographed stage worn boots from Hamilton: An American Musical. Both signed in black ink by Lin-Manuel Miranda on the brown leather. Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000.

Bob Mackie black beaded top and skirt ensemble worn by Carol Burnett in Putting it Together. Estimate: $800 – $1,200.

George Gershwin Portrait of a Lady. Colored pencil and watercolor on paper, with an affixed signature “George Gershwin” at lower right, sheet 9 1/2 x 10 inches, framed. Fine. Estimate: $3,000 – $4,000.

HUGH JACKMAN Brown leather jacket worn as Wolverine in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000.

Alberta Ferretti green dress and Michael Kors shoes worn to the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2020 by MERYL STREEP, along with Ms. Streep’s program and ticket from the event. Estimate: $1,000 – $1,500.

Stage used mechanical monkey music box prop from the recent West End Production of Phantom of the Opera. Offered with a personal invitation for two from Andrew Lloyd Webber to attend the opening night of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway (when the show re-opens, flights & hotel not included). Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000.

Black T-Shirt, blue jeans and leather boots worn on Broadway by Bruce Springsteen. A pair of Marsèll boots, possibly resoled, Rag & Bone jeans, size 33, and a Saint Laurent T-shirt, with a breast pocket. Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000.

Oscar de la Renta dress worn by Renée Fleming to sing at the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II on June 4, 2012. Ms. Fleming wore this as she sang on the balcony of Buckingham Palace (with Alfie Boe). Estimate: $1,500 – $2,500.

A five string Lotus banjo signed “Steve Martin” on the Remo head, with shoulder strap. 39 inches. Some minor wear. Estimate: $1,000 – $1,500.

Cast signed script for Downton Abbey: The Movie. Finely bound in full blue leather, the cover is gilt lettered and stamped with a profile of Downton Abbey at center and both covers bear crown cornerpieces. Copy 4 from the limited edition of just 30 copies, the title page has been signed by the film’s director, writer, producer and cast. Estimate: $1,000 – $1,500.

MAMA MIA! Jumpsuit costume worn on Broadway in the “Tanya” Finale. Estimate: $800 – $1,200.

Group of items signed by Angela Lansbury belonging to Jane Connell who portrayed Agnes Gooch on the original production of Mame. Includes: Connell’s brad-bound script dated 1966; a stage photograph signed by Connell and co-star Angela Lansbury; four other related photographs depicting Lansbury; A Gershwin Theatre playbill signed by Lansbury on the cover; and two large format programs for Mame, both signed by Angela Lansbury. Some minor wear. Estimate: $400 – $600.

Michael Kors black and gold lamé dress and coat ensemble with gold chain worn by Christine Baranski in The Good Fight. Estimate: $700 – $1,000.

Celeste Holm Dress worn in Another Sun at the National Theatre, 1940. Holm played the role of Maria and wore this stylish gown. Broadway worn costumes from this Golden Age period are scarce. Estimate: $1,000 – $1,500.

A group of 15 Playbills signed on the covers or within by Stephen Sondheim and a few additionally signed by others, each about 9 x 5 1/2 inches, minor wear and dust soiling. Estimate: $200 – $400.

Click here to bid!

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