We were exhausted—it was our third night in a row at The Plaza, and, quite frankly, we were becoming a little too familiar with the hotel’s ornate ballrooms at fund-raiser after frilly fund-raiser. The Observer loves schmoozing, but of late our calendar has left us rather harried—perhaps even unappreciative. As we arrived at the bedazzled edifice for the seventh annual Children’s Rights Benefit this past Wednesday, we quickly took notice of rapper Nick Cannon, slipping coolly out of a large black SUV with an entourage and bodyguards. At last, something seemed fresh, and unpredictable. While hip-hop stars and R&B producers are certainly no strangers to this old-school bastion of New York excess, it’s always exciting to see a touch of, er, young blood among traditional notions of prestige and privilege. With producer Kasseem David Dean a k a “Swizz Beatz” up for top honors that night, we anticipated that the hotel would be getting a much-needed dose of swagger. Read More
By Charlotte Lytton 10/19/12 2:23pm
It has long been heralded as the candy-colored jewel in the chocolate crown of Brooklyn’s brownstone belt, but the new owners of Park Slope’s wackiest house have decided, with the blessing of the city, to return it to its natural shade. The building has become something of a local landmark since Bernie Henry, now 92 years old, bought the place in 1961. He repainted it the fetching pink hue as a gift to his wife. Well, they do say love is blind. Read More
By Charlotte Lytton 10/18/12 12:35pm
“Getting Rebecca: The Musical to Broadway is literally all I care about right now,” said Ben Sprecher, the theatrical producer who was taken for a ride by a would-be backer busted by Feds this week.
In a plot so flimsy it could only work on Broadway, bogus investor Mark C. Hotton has been charged with two counts of wire fraud, which could see him serving up to 40 years behind bars. The former stockbroker said he could turn up backing for the musical, which is based on the 1938 novel by Daphne du Maurier, but any financing he produced turned out to be purely fictional.
In the most ridiculous aspect of the scheme, Mr. Hotton volunteered a phantom investor by the name of Paul Abrams—but when Mr. Sprecher pushed for the would-be backer to cough up the funds, Mr. Abrams was said to have gone on safari, then, to have died of malaria.
“When we first heard the news, we thought: ‘malaria?!’” Mr. Sprecher told us over the phone yesterday. “It sounded odd at first, but we Googled it and found that thousands of people die from the disease every year.” Read More
By Charlotte Lytton 10/17/12 6:35pm
A night at the ballet demands high drama, and American Ballet Theater’s Opening Fall Gala didn’t disappoint. A dancer took a tumble in the wings, guests belched mid-speeches and hungry ballerinas devoured meals with their fingers—not quite the refined affair we bastions of etiquette at The Observer had in mind. In between the guzzling and gassiness, however, ABT put on a superb show, with four separate performances offering a glimpse into what it has in store this fall.
An endless array of ball gowns swished through the auditorium as the performance was due to begin, and the amount of hair coiffing on display was enough to cause environmental concern. Ralph Lauren model Robyn Lawley bucked the trend of bouffant ’dos, choosing to add some atop-the-head inches in a funereal feathered headpiece. How very Black Swan. Read More
By Charlotte Lytton 10/17/12 3:56pm
Braving the elements on a rainy October Monday, we headed to the West Village for a Cointreau-cum-cabaret soirée headlined by the inimitable Dita Von Teese. As we ascended the spiral staircases, cocktails were being served up at every corner by bartenders who were far more … enticing than the limp canapés on offer. Read More
By Charlotte Lytton 10/10/12 12:06pm
Theater Theatre is to open an office in New York later this month. The last two productions to make the transatlantic transfer have proved to be hits on both sides of the pond, with One Man Two Guvnors and War Horse scooping six Tony’s between them. It is this commercial success that has spawned the New York office, with The National’s former assistant producer Tim Levy at the helm of the venture.