What a scene backstage at the Tony Awards, in a room next to the cramped Beacon Theater. Audemars Piguet watches had a contest for the celebrity presenters–stick your hand in a bowl of keys, pick one out, and then open a locked cubby. If the key worked, you got a solid gold diamond encrusted watch worth, like, a lot of money. Christie Brinkley turned her key once, and it failed. But a photographer asked her to try again, and voila! The “Chicago” star, dazzling in a floor length blue gown, walked away with a new timepiece. Word came back that Hugh Jackman had also won one.
“Wait a minute,” said Matthew Broderick, who’d come to the gift suite, he said, because he knew no one sitting around him in the theater. SJP was home with their three kids. “Something’s fishy,” he joked. Broderick got to hang out a bit with Daniel Radcliffe, who’s now playing his old role in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Joel Grey accepted kudos for his early direction of “The Normal Heart.”
Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin chatted up a very young brunette, Paul Shaffer introduced his teenage daughter around, Robin Williams came roaring in from the stage with his big white beard. Everyone got boxes of very dry cookies from Armani. Kelsey Grammer and his new wife, Kayte, met Daniel Radcliffe.
Elsewhere there was much the public didn’t see, including Vanessa Redgrave stopping to shake hands and take pictures with senior citizens in the West 74th St. Nursing Home. She was the only celebrity to do so, even though everyone had to pass this group assembled in front of their entrance on the way into the Beacon. The Brooke Shields saw what was happening, so she stopped, too. Redgrave is a mensch.
Inside the theater, during a commercial break, Frances McDormand got locked out in the lobby. She told me then–before winning–she didn’t have a speech and didn’t know what to say if she did win. Then we had to convince a security guy to let her back into the theater. “She’s nominated for Best Actress,” I said.
Up in the loge is where you’d find the press–not bad seats, all things considered. But what was Andrew Lloyd Webber doing all the up there with us?
Best line of the night, from Whoopi Goldberg when we said hello on the red carpet: “I have hot dog breath.” We love Whoopi.
In the party at the Plaza Hotel: McDormand and husband Joel Coen chatting with playwright David Rabe and now famous actress daughter Lily Rabe (whose mom and his wife was the great Jill Clayburgh). Jerry and Kate Hathaway, parents of Anne Hathaway–who’s in London filming “The Dark Knight Rises,” came to hang with out one of the “War Horse” producers. Best actor winner Mark Rylance showing us the print out of the Louis Jenkins poem he read as an acceptance speech. He read a Jenkins poem when he was last Tony, too, for “Boeing Boeing.” (The poem is “Walking Through Walls” http://www.louisjenkins.com/Louis_Jenkins/Poems.html)
And: Tamara Tunie, of “Law & Order: SVU” and “As the World Turns” fame, chatting up the parents of famed director/choreographer siblings Rob (“Chicago,” “Pirates of the Caribbean 4”) and tonight’s Tony winner Kathleen Marshall. Tamara and Rob were college pals at Carnegie Mellon.
Chris Rock and Annabella Sciorra, co-stars of “The Motherf—- with the Hat,” exiting the Plaza, he with wife, she with boyfriend: “See you… in 48 hours.” The party’s over, the show must go on.