NY parties going strong
October 27, 1975
NEW YORK – New Yorkers are far from broke.
I saw some 900 people eating, drinking and dancing, celebrating the official press opening of the biggest hit musical in years, “A Chorus Line.” at a party at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. It cost philanthropist Lu Esther Mertz about $15.000. She had previously given Joe Papp‘s New Y o r k Shakespeare Festival about $300,000.
The guests rode to the party in buses from the Shubert Theater, where the show got a standing ovation from Shirley MacLaine. Ethel Merman, Senator Javits, John V. Lindsay, Dina ‘Merrill, Cliff Robertson. Lucie Arnaz, Dalores Grey. Rep. Bella Abzug, Jule Styne, John Gavin and Connie Towers. Kitty Carlisle, and Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban, the songwriters, from the moment it started.
The party people spread out over three huge rooms and a disco’ dance floor, where I saw three men dancing together, kissing the hand of a fourth man. Bette Midler greeted an acquaintance. “Wanna see my bosom?”
Donna McKechnie, the dancing star, swung in with goateed director, Michael Bennett. Irving Mansfield said to her, “I don’t know whether to congratulate you or ask you to marry rne.”
“Thank you,” she said, then added, “by the way, I’m single.”
The opening – delayed twice by the musicians’ strike – was compared with openings of “My Fair Lady,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “Oklahoma!” There were many in the audience who’d already seen the show several times off-B’way and in previews.