Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stars Celebrate $56 Million Renovation of New York's City Center

The newly painted ceiling of New York's City Center (Photo: Luke Szczygielski)
The 88-year old institution celebrated its re-opening on Tuesday after a massive overhaul of the Moorish style auditorium's lobby, restrooms, backstage areas and hall seating. "Much was made of the various programming that has graced the City Center stage. There have been musicals, represented on Tuesday by Patti LuPone (who sang 'Everything's Coming Up Roses' from Gypsy), Brian Stokes Mitchell (who sang 'It Ain't Necessarily So' from Porgy and Bess, which has been produced at City Center) and Donna Murphy (who, in an homage to our city, sang 'I Happen to Like New York,' a song she also performed a decade ago at a gala right after Sept. 11, she explained at the dinner following at Cipriani 42nd Street. "I love that song," she said). There has been plenty of dance. And there has been opera, which was represented Tuesday by Denyce Graves, who sang from Samson and Delilah. 'Feel free to sing along,' Ms. Graves said. 'I know it's been on a Ragu spaghetti commercial, so you may recognize it.'" [Source]

Read lots more about the details of the renovation over on WQXR , there is photo coverage over at TheaterMania and three more anecdotes from the evening are after the jump.

"In homage to Fiorello LaGuardia, Mayor Bloomberg guest conducted the Encores! Orchestra to the tune of the 'Star Spangled Banner' at the reopening of City Center on Tuesday. He described the experience as much like his current position. 'You're standing in front of a group of people you're trying to get to follow you and you've got several hundred people behind you who think they could do it better than how you're doing it,' Mr. Bloomberg said."

"'In 1943 the top ticket price was $1.50,' said the actor Matthew Broderick, who was there with his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker. 'I could bring my family of five and I would pay $7.50 to see Gertrude and God, or perhaps Tallulah Bankhead in Streetcar Named Desire or Paul Robeson in Othello. 'Today,' Mr. Broderick continued, 'If I brought that same family to see Book of Mormon, it would be $2,375. It would be worth it, but it would be $2,375.'"

"In the mix of tuxedoes was the writer R.L. Stine, famous for his young adult Goosebumps series. Mr. Stine, as it turns out, is working on a scary book for adults, too, that he hopes to publish next fall. Meanwhile, he said, though he lives uptown, he has never set a novel in Manhattan. 'It's too elitist a location,' he explained. 'My books tend to happen in backyards.' Did the fact that Halloween is just around the corner get him out of the house? 'People think that all I do and like are scary things," Mr. Stine said. "But I go to the opera. I go to the theater.'"


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