Wednesday, May 22, 2024

NY Theater: Daryl Roth Says She’s Looking for a Theater to Stage Play with Juliana Margulies and Peter Gallagher

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Call together a top notch group from the Hamptons and you learn a lot.

That’s what happened at the Rainbow Room last week, at the annual gala for East Hampton’s cultural locus, Guild Hall.

Guild Hall Academy of the Arts President, the painter Eric Fischl got to hone his comedy chops at this year’s spring gala, fashioning a speech on a string of cliches created by AI. That set the night off in good spirits, against The Rainbow Room’s customary spectacular panoramic views of the city now fogged in, but as Board Chair Marty Cohen observed, “When it comes to Guild Hall, there’s no such thing as bad weather.”

Sure enough, we were expecting no-shows but most everyone showed: Neil de Grasse Tyson, Sunny Hostin, Fern Malis, Fischl’s poet wife April Gornik, artist Ross Bleckner, and a robust theater crowd. They were there to celebrate Daryl Roth, producer mother of Jordan Roth, head of Jujamcyn Theaters.

Jordan was clad in one of his typically elegant ensembles accessorized with his grandmother Sylvia’s matching clutch. He opened his speech with, “My mother loves gay people.” That broke the ice, as a proud, even gleeful son spoke of his mom’s collection of 13 Tony Awards and counting.

Daryl has just signed Julianne Margulies and Peter Gallagher to a show adapted from Delia Ephron’s novel, “Left on Tenth.” She’s hoping to stage it in the fall, with Tony winning director Susan Stroman — who was also present– directing. But it’s not so easy, even for Roth, who has a theater named for her in Union Square.

When I congratulated her, Roth pulled me aside with the latest update: she has yet to find a theater! Ah, the perils of producing!

Roth’s pal, Bernadette Peters, took the stage to sing two numbers from Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” Instead, she started with a joke about a frog who, upon getting a kiss from an elder gentleman, promised to turn into a gorgeous blonde who would make love to him every night for the rest of his life. The man took the frog home and went to bed, explaining that at this point in life he preferred to have a talking frog.

The jokes did not end there. Howard Marks, who with his wife Nancy were honored for philanthropy. Marks told one about a boy who got a part in a school play. His mother asked, what part? The Jewish husband. Her reply: Couldn’t you get a speaking role?

It was that kind of a night.

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