A BACKSTAGE BASH
There were surprises all around at this year’s “Backstage at the Geffen” fundraiser and locals turned out in force. Malibu beauty Roma Downey, who wowed critics a few years back in “A Picasso,” brought her talented daughter Reilly who is becoming a Geffen regular.
The two joined Rita Wilson, Christina Applegate, Hank Azaria, Kristen Bell and the legendary Clint Eastwood for a night of music, laughs and merriment to benefit the Geffen’s “Stage at Any Age” education program.
Famed violinist Sarah Chang delighted theater goers with classic selections from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” On the other side of the spectrum, Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix struck a chord, while Tony winner Alan Cumming brought down the house with renditions of “Mein Herr” and “Taylor the Latte Boy.”
Sharon Lawrence shared backstage stories about her well-heeled life in “shoe business” and Beau Bridges mused about the animal antics actors must endure when working with four-legged friends.
The biggest surprise of the evening came when chairman of the board Frank Mancuso made an unexpected announcement in honor of the Geffen’s longtime fixture Gil Cates. The main stage will now be called the Gil Cates Theater.
The acclaimed director, meantime, seemed genuinely shocked. “I was kind of embarrassed,” he said, “but I do love the name.”
The all-star evening raised half a million bucks to keep theater, music and the performing arts alive for generations to come.
The new movie season is here and Hollywood is serving up a slew of sequels. My vote for perfect timing is the much anticipated follow up to “Wall Street.” The original starred local father and son team Martin and Charlie Sheen as well as Michael Douglas who returns as Gordon “greed is good” Gekko.
After a stint behind bars for his misdeeds, Gekko hits Wall Street once again to find that “Money Never Sleeps.” The film also features Carey Mulligan who is fresh off her Academy nod for “An Education” and Shia LaBeouf who is in production on the next “Transformers” flick. Charlie Sheen pops up in a cameo.
For the kids, “Shrek” will be lumbering back onto the big screen. The fourth and final film in the animated franchise features Mike Myers as the jolly green giant with Cameron Diaz voicing the role of Princess Fiona.
Robert Downey Jr. is pumped up as industrialist action hero Tony Stark in “Iron Man 2.” Downey is joined by blond bombshell Scarlett Johansson and tough guy Mickey Rourke.
Fashionistas can get “Carried” away as New York’s favorite glamazons make their way to Morocco in “Sex and the City 2.” Naturally, they look just as stylish on the back of a camel as they do in the back of a limo.
And it’s Robin Hood (but not in tights). Rugged wild man Russell Crowe breaks out the slings and arrows and plays it straight. Expect non-stop adventure as he takes on the adrenaline- inducing role made famous by Errol Flynn. Cate Blanchett and William Hurt join Russ for the latest foray into Sherwood Forest. A cinematic counter point for Gordon Gekko perhaps? In any case, make way for the Merry Men charging forth into a theater near you.
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