What the “little people” had to say about “Short Talks”

Mister D: I have looked high and low for a critics review of the all-star “Short Talks” benefit in which Miss M has a monologue rant with her purse, written by Nora Ephron. Maybe since it was a benefit, critics shy away from speaking their minds. However, thru tireless searches on the web, I came across a stream of converstions by people who attended and for what it’s worth, this is what they said:

Posted by JustFrank on November 19, 2002 at 03:38:07:

Three minutes after Angela Lansbury walked onstage tonight, I knew that I the evening was well worth my $100 (love those discount emails – 4th row mezz). I’d never seen her onstage before. She was amazing and wholly commanding my attention in a sweet, little 15 minute scene by McNally called Ghost Light. No reason to explain the 4 Tony’s to me after seeing her tonight. Would love to see her back on the boards. And she looked lovely.

Chris O’Donnell held his own with her. And what a looker he is, too.

Cady Huffman did a cute scene intro thing that they thankfully did not beat to death.

Bette Midler did a great Nora Ephron bit – I Hate My Purse. She looked great, too.

Tony Roberts and Matthew Broderick did a great, silly (yet thought provoking) piece by Jon Robin Baitz called Show People. Broderick was a riot as the Devil (wearing horns and a tail and carrying a pitchfork) explaining theatre Hell to the recently deceased producer played by Roberts. He was funnier than John Lovitz’ Devil from SNL. Just some silly little movements that killed me. The Devil got some shots in at John Simon and obliterated “that little schmuck from The Post.”

Tony Kushner did some very funny reading (in his pajamas) from his journal regarding his inability to finish a piece for the evening.

The ever boyish Boyd Gaines (he was quite a bit older than me when I first saw him in One Day at a Time when I was a kid – I swear I’m older than him now!) and Halley Feiffer did a piece by Jules Feiffer called E-mail. Funny with a little twist ending.

Christine Baranski & Kevin Kline were in an hysterical thing called 3:00 a.m. by Steve Martin about a married couple in bed – totally absurd and – Salman Rushdie, Connie Chung, Diane Sawyer, a bathtub full of vodka and trumpets – I can’t explain it – ridiculous but funny. Played to the hilt by Baranski. We need her back more often. Kline, as always, perfect.

Ellen Barkin & Patricia Kalember (both gorgeous in fabulous party dresses) were in an Elaine May piece called Extra with Alec Baldwin. Barkin and Baldwin were a good pairing in an amusing bit. The scene ended with the two of them dancing.

All the other couples from the previous pieces came out of the wings dancing together and then took their bows as a group. Mike Nichols spoke briefly and with humor. Amazing to see such star wattage lined up across the stage.

The gorgeous Melissa Errico (fabulous strapless black ‘mermaid’ dress with a white tulle ‘tail’) and dashing (in a tux) Raul Esparza came out and sang Sunday in the Park, Finishing the Hat and Move On. Brought me right back to DC. It was great to see them both onstage again. It was a change of pace from the rest of the evening. Sort of disrupted the lovely dancing ending witht the night’s performers. And perhaps it was “escape music” for some of the stars. But they were wonderful – two performers that just have “IT”.

Being a ridiculous fan, I stood outside the stage door with the paparazzi and other fans. Got a chance to say hello to the very handsome Patrick McEnroe (I noticed him first because I could tell he had wife Melissa’s dress by the shape of the garment bag he carried out). A number of folks had left by the time I got out there. But Tony Roberts, Melissa, Ellen Barkin and Christine Baranski came out and signed. I was thrilled to get Errico & Baranski to sign my DC posters. Baranski was hamming it up with the photographers and just tossing off that “MaryAnn” thing she does so well.

Excellent night for two excellent causes (Friends in Deed and Bay Street Theatre).

Sorry for going on so long. I love nights like this. Two great intermissionless hours (flew by). Terrific lineup. Such pros. Kudos to them all.

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