If Elaine Stritch had seen the crowd yesterday afternoon at the Al Hirschfeld Theater, she’d have had a whopping good laugh. Her memorial service was just terrific, and the audience wasn’t bad either. Sitting in the seats were Matthew Broderick, F. Murray Abraham, Cynthia Nixon, John Turturro, John Lithgow, David Hyde Pierce, Christine Baranski, Carol Kane, Tommy Tune, Lois Smith, Joy Behar, DA Pennebaker (who filmed Elaine twice–once in the landmark film about “Company” and the for HBO’s “At Liberty” with Chris Hegedus) and HBO’s Sheila Nevins. I may have missed a few people.
On stage: Nathan Lane, the incomparable Liz Smith, Christine Ebersole and Bernadette Peters each sang, Laura Benanti and Michael Feinstein sang, Hal Prince spoke, so did Holland Taylor. Liz revealed that Elaine left her a little money in her will “to take Barbara Walters out to lunch.” Nathan Lane, hilarious as usual, teared up twice and paused in his hysterical remembrances of Stritch. Betty Buckley recalled Elaine critiquing her show at Cafe Carlyle, out loud, while the show was going on. Alec Baldwin and Cherry Jones sent video tapes.
Here’s some video courtesy of Playbill. I knew Elaine Stritch for the last 15 years. She spoke at Elaine Kaufman’s memorial service and reminisced about being a bartender, briefly. She was one of a kind. We’ve lost a lot of people this year. Tough stuff. She will never be forgotten in part due to the documentary “Just Shoot Me” which is eligible for the Oscar this year.I hope it’s nominated.