Tony Bennett’s wasn’t the only gala dinner in Manhattan last Thursday, but that’s where Shindigger was, arriving at Cipriani 42nd Street for cocktail hour, just in time to catch a glimpse of Alec Baldwin. “Oh my God, he’s lost so much weight—I didn’t even recognize him!” we heard one guest whisper to another, eyeing the star who would kick off 30 Rock’s final season later that night. Mr. Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria Thomas, flaunted her Hebrew for the night’s honoree, entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman, before the couple headed off to the Norman Mailer Center benefit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Mr. Bennett, whose nonprofit Exploring the Arts operates in New York public schools, apparently lacked Ms. Thomas’s linguistic talent. Or so we learned when we asked the 86-year-old crooner, whose third Duets album pairs him with the likes of Marc Anthony and Gloria Estefan, about his Spanish. “No habla Español,” answered his 46-year-old wife, co-host and translator, Susan Benedetto. We changed the subject to Mr. Bennett’s next album, a recently announced full-length collaboration with Lady Gaga. “I know that she’s one of the great singers of all time, but people don’t know that,” Mr. Bennett explained. “They just see another, you know, big new star coming up, but she is one hell of a singer. She can improvise as great as Ella Fitzgerald.”
We stopped at the bar to take in the student artwork, alongside photographs of Mr. Bennett (himself a talented painter) with young dancers and musicians. A disembodied voice urged us to our table, where pink paintbrushes matched the flower arrangement. Read More