November 8, 2002 — KATIE Couric is a mother, TV star, world traveler and now – ta da! – a producer. She’s produced next Tuesday’s celebrithon at the Waldorf’s Grand Ballroom. In memory of her husband, funds raised will build New York-Presbyterian’s Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health.
“It’s the mother of all benefits,” Katie told me. “Robin Williams will do a colonoscopy routine. It’s bawdy, so my kids may have to leave during that. When I called to ask might he do this benefit, his wife, Marsha – fortunately for me – said they’ll be in the area for a wedding.”
Celebs run from Kevins Spacey and Kline to Whoopi to De Niro to co-hosts Susan Sarandon and Meryl Streep. So did Katie contact each personally?
“With Beyonce Knowles, who’s only 20, I called her dad. He’s her manager and he could see how passionate I am about this. Besides, I’ve interviewed her. Also, in her ‘Austin Powers’ movie I played the quickie part of the prison guard of sexual orientation. You can sometimes pick up a phone and get right through, other times you go through their people. CAA’s Kevin Huvane lost his mom to cancer, so he and his agency were a big help.”
So, listen, Katie, anyone refuse you?
Large laugh then: “You mean who’s still alive?”
This Hollywood-Broadway event, “42nd & Vine,” centers around the score of “West Side Story.” Why?
“Hollywood’s done events around one musical theme, and here we’ve not done that, so I thought it’s a great idea. Everyone’s working hard. Kelsey Grammer has been listening to the CD non-stop. He’s singing ‘Something’s Coming.’ Bette Midler scheduled two rehearsals. She, Rita Moreno and Chita Rivera do ‘America.’ Rita and Chita did it in the original production. Amy Grant and Vince Gill are singing ‘One Hand, One Heart.’ Rebecca Luker’s song, ‘Tonight,’ requires a strong soprano, so we got the strongest there is.
“The show is 45 years old, and Stephen Sondheim will be in the audience with us. So will all of Jay’s family and my parents, my sister from Boston, brother from Virginia, my nieces and nephews.”
Wardrobe, she says, is “festive.” Katie’s “staying away from black. I have a long dress with a little Latino flair which I wore to Highgrove. My designer friend, Cynthia Steffe, is copying it short and in red. I’ll add a little spackle in terms of accessories.”
One accessory that doesn’t need more spackle is her date, TV exec Tom Werner.
The event’s four days away and, minus her own personal contribution, Katie Couric’s first fund-raiser effort has already netted $5 million.
Article from New York Post/Cindy Adams