[Hugh Jackman, Deborra-Lee Furness. Photos by ZACH HYMAN for PMc] The American Theatre Wing held its 2009 Spring Gala last night at Cipraini 42nd Street. The event feted the organization’s members as well as serving as a pre-Tony Awards get together…and it did not disappoint! ATW Chairman Theodore S. Chapin and ATW Executive Director Howard Sherman introduced the evening, and passed the microphone over to the evening’s Honorary Chair Hugh Jackman, who served as the MC for the second half of the evening, and he was truly amazing and even better in person. He even gave the crowd a taste of his stellar vocals by performing a solo song, and then performing a cheeky duet of “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” along side good friend and the multi-talented Kristin Chenoweth, who then performed her own breathtaking solo numbers.
A very special treat were several songs (including Cole Porter and Ray Charles pieces) performed by Broadway legend Barbara Cook, who brought the crowd to tears and received a standing ovation. On hand for the performances were some of Broadway’s biggest names, including the legendary Angela Lansbury, this year’s Tony Awards host Neil Patrick Harris, Joel Grey, Hair’s Gavin Creel, Tovah Feldshuh, and American Idol’s/Rock of Ages’ Constantine Maroulis (who is up for a Tony this year).
The evening’s featured “Tony Trio” included Chenoweth, Cook, and Tony Award winning and Private Practice star Audra McDonald (who showed up with hottie costar Will Swenson). Guests were treated to dinner and a live auction, among who were ATW Board Member Lucia Hwong Gordon, best selling author and attorney Mark W. Smith, Hugh’s wife Deborra-Lee Furness, actress Martha Plimpton, Sharon Bush, actor James Ginty, Kathie Lee Gifford, Kate Jennings Grant, Drew Seeley, Anthony Leeds, Janna Bullock, and Amanda Sidman.
Between the beautiful performances and meeting Hugh Jackman (who was beyond delightful and friendly), it was hands down the most fun I’ve had sitting down in quite some time, and the perfect way to usher in this year’s Tony Awards.