On Friday, October 31, the Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue was transformed into a center of ghostly, ghastly and ghoulish delights as Bette Midler presented New York Restoration Projectâ€™s (NYRP) 19th Annual Hulaween Gala.
Hosted by two-time Emmy winner Judy Gold, with a costume contest judged by fashion icon Michael Kors, and a performance by the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire, guests were invited to unleash their imaginations for the costume party of the year â€“ and the biggest annual fundraiser for NYRP. Joining Ms. Midler and NYRP Executive Director Deborah Marton, along with Judy Gold, Michael Kors and Earth, Wind & Fire, were Mario Cantone, Rosanne Cash, Tony Danza, Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas, Matthew Morrison, Narciso Rodriguez, Liz Smith, and Tony and Emmy Award winner Marc Shaiman, who accompanied Betteâ€™s performance on the piano.
Read our exclusive red carpet interviews below:
Bette Midlerâ€™s new album â€œItâ€™s The Girlsâ€ will hit stores on November 4. Read what she told us on the red carpet.
Who made your costume?
This is made by Daddy Dalrymple. Actually I have another costume coming in at 9 oâ€™clock. Iâ€™ve never changed before.
Are you a Fellini witch?
Iâ€™m Suzy from Juliet of the Spirits.
What are you doing for your birthday?
Iâ€™m going to be away, in the United Kingdom. I donâ€™t pay attention to cakes, my daughter and husband always do a beautiful day for me. Breakfast in bed, homemade lunch, lovely dinner, and candles.
Tell us about your album.
I have Marc Shaiman who Iâ€™ve known since he was 16 and I had Ed Cherney who is an engineer who I love with all my heart â€¦ The best part I think was discovering those songs, and the happiness that those songs, those particular chords and lyrics bring to people at large. Especially girls, especially women. Those are very special songs, and to hear women sing and certain kinds of black voices that you had never heard before in your life, it was a big thrill in those days. I remember it very well.
Did you have a special song that you were so happy you recorded?
I didnâ€™t record this song, but my husbandâ€™s our song, our couple song is â€œHave You Seen Herâ€ that was our song. They sing really high in that song too, we love those high voices.
Besides the album what is coming next for you?
Iâ€™m going to United Kingdom, Iâ€™m going to promote the album and then Iâ€™m going to come back and I may go on the road and weâ€™ll see.
How did you think of this theme?
It came to me in a dream, Iâ€™ve always loved him, I said â€œFellini rhymes with Hulaweeni,â€ thatâ€™ll work. I wanted to have Italian food, and I couldnâ€™t figure out how to have Italian food. I finally did. It just came to me. I think it was good. Because he died on a Halloween night. Mr. Federico Fellini died on Halloween night. How perfect. I didnâ€™t even know. Everything that happened, the step and repeat, that Douglas Little did for us, itâ€™s hilarious, and we spent a lot of time on it, we really do love it, its very creative.
Do you have a favorite designer?
I love everybody. Anyone who works in the creative arts is my friend.
What does NYRP mean to you?
Well I started this organization nearly 20 years ago and it has been my whole life for the last 20 years. So it means a lot to me.
What is your costume?
Iâ€™m the paparazzi chasing La Divina in ancient Rome. Iâ€™m on the Via Condotti. Iâ€™m turning the cameras on the cameramen.
Did you ever make your own costume? Did you still make your own costume?
Itâ€™s a Michael Kors suit. I didnâ€™t make the wig. I always made my own costumes. When I was little I used to paint boxes. I was a UNICEF box, I was the tin man, if it included a box, I did it.
Whatâ€™s trending for Halloween this year?
Iâ€™m worried thereâ€™s going to be too many from the recent headlines. Iâ€™m hoping everyone just has fun with it. I donâ€™t want to see any sad Halloween, ghostly fine, but not any headline Halloween.
Why do you think itâ€™s important to come out and support this event?
NYRP is all about communities, and when you see these gardens, what they can do for community and change everything quickly, its really remarkable. Bette has single handedly changed New York and iâ€™ts amazing to be here.
Tell me about your costume.
Frankie Steinz designed it, whoâ€™s the costumer. The fabric is from Italy, and sheâ€™s never let anyone else wear this. She made it, and she wouldnâ€™t let anyone wear it because she didnâ€™t trust anyone. It has a cape back, and itâ€™s my Fellini-esque Julius Caesar costume.
What does hosting this event mean to you?
I love NYRP, I love Bette, the parks are so important. All the educational stuff that they do with these vegetable gardens, teaching kids about nutrition, I grew up in New Jersey and had a huge garden. All of our own vegetables. I took it for granted, and that is one thing I do miss. What is better better than walking outside and seeing trees, and nature and breathing clean air? I love New York.