Monday, July 22, 2024

David Foster, Jon Voight Hang Out, Plus Chita Rivera Awards the Best, Shopping to Stop Cancer


New York really is a small town. Leaving the Outer Critics Circle annual awards dinner on Thursday afternoon, who should turn up in Sardi’s? Why, Jon Voight. Apparently he’s rented an apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn while filming “Ray Donovan.” (The show moved here to accommodate Liev Schreiber’s parenting schedule.) What was he up to in Sardi’s? “I’m taking my nieces to see Harry Potter,” he said. Like everyone else…Later, after seeing “The Band’s Visit” for a second time (starring the magnificently sublime Katrina Lenk), I ran to get my car. As I zipped west on 44th St. who should be standing by the open door of an SUV? Why, music producer David Foster. I stopped short. During “The Band’s Visit” I actually thought: David Foster should produce Josh Groban singing the musical’s final number, “Answer Me.” And there he was. “I summoned you,” I said to David. “Happens all the time,” he replied…–RF

…As noted in the past: It is a truth widely held, that ladies who lunch are wont to shop. And so a fashion show to benefit the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation has become an annual luncheon event.

The options for lavish spending were displayed at Susan Gutfreund’s apartment last week, featuring models wearing Jason Wu’s dresses and gowns currently available on Bergdorf’s third floor. While the designer was not present, his assistant assured everyone he sincerely wished he could be, but was mid-air en route to Asia, launching a new fragrance. We would all get one in a goody bag, along with a cupcake from Magnolia.

For guilt free spending, the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation benefits from a portion of the sales. Dr. Samuel Waxman, formidable and inspiring, spoke to the rapt crowd, many women beautifully dressed for the occasion.

Cancer touches everyone, as we know, so hearing from Dr. Waxman was important. Even though he gave everyone updates on how the foundation was supporting research to fight cancer, he also pointed out, this is a disease of the aging, which means that our children are more likely to get it than we are.

Hardly dispelling this depressing thought, the doctor’s wife Marion Waxman spoke too, encouraged that the foundation grows in its efforts to fund researchers worldwide, bringing the best knowledge together to fight this disease.

If you can wear Jason Wu, the designs and fabrics are beautiful. Though I am passionate about fashion, all I knew about Jason Wu was that he was a favorite of Michelle Obama. I fell in love with a Mantis Green Liquid Satin Coat and Wide Leg Pant, and a Black Crepe Satin Swarovski Crystal Embroidered Slip Gown was simply to die for.

Seeing his models walk around Gutfruend’s spectacular home with views on Central Park, I could admire his work, even though, alas, he is not a designer for petites. Regina Weinreich

CHITA RIVERA does not age. She also has a whole awards ceremony named for her. This week at NYU’s Skirball Center, she handed out the Chita Rivera Awards. The winners included actress, dancer, and choreographer Carmen De Lavallade received the second annual Lifetime Achievement Award, iconic composer John Kander received the Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theater as a Composer, legendary theater director Harold Prince was presented with the SDC Director Award for Exemplary Collaboration with Choreographers, and Steven Hoggett — who is represented on Broadway this season with Angels in America and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child —  received the inaugural Douglas and Ethel Watt Critics’ Choice Award. 

A lot of people work on these awards, but I wanted to cite Patty Watt, whom I’ve known for eons from the halcyon days at Elaine’s. She continues to honor her late dad, the great theater critic Douglas Watt. Her parents are smiling in heaven.


(winners are starred and in bold)

Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show:

Camille A. Brown, Once on This Island

Christopher Gattelli, SpongeBob SquarePants

Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls

Justin Peck, Carousel

***Sergio Trujillo, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical


Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show:

***Carousel (tie)

***Mean Girls (tie)

Once on This Island

SpongeBob SquarePants

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical


Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show:

Norbert Leo Butz, My Fair Lady

Andrei Chagas, Carousel 

Gavin Lee, SpongeBob SquarePants

Amar Ramasar, Carousel                       

***Tony Yazbeck, Prince of Broadway          


Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show:

Yesenia Ayala, Carousel

***Ariana DeBose, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical                

Hailey Kilgore, Once on This Island

Katrina Lenk, The Band’s Visit

Skye Mattox, Carousel

Ashley Park, Mean Girls

Brittany Pollack, Carousel               


Outstanding Choreography in an Off-Broadway Show:

Nejla Yatkin, The Boy Who Danced on Air 

Sonya Tayeh, Hundred Days 

***Zach Morris & Jennine Willet, Ghost Light 

Chris Bailey, Jerry Springer: The Opera 

Monica Bill Barnes, One Night Only 


Outstanding Female Dancer in an Off- Broadway Show:

Anna Bass, One Night Only

***Monica Bill Barnes, One Night Only

Elizabeth Carena, Ghost Light

Tiffany Mann, Jerry Springer: The Opera 

Kenita R. Miller, Bella


Outstanding Male Dancer in an Off- Broadway Show:

Colin Campbell, Disco Pigs

***Robert Fairchild, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Troy Iwata, The Boy Who Danced on Air

Evan Ruggiero, Bastard Jones

Nikhil Saboo, The Boy Who Danced on Air



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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