“To Kill a Mockingbird,” the beloved American story about a middle-aged white man as a civil-rights hero, opened on Broadway last Thursday night and the nation’s celebrities came to pay homage.
Among the dozens of eminences filling the Shubert Theater were Oprah Winfrey, Jessica Chastain, Huma Abedin, Tina Fey, former Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Jessica Lange, Hugh Jackman, Barry Diller, Laurence Fishburne, Spike Lee, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Uma Thurman and Alfre Woodard.
Afterward, many made the chilly stroll two blocks east for an after-party at the Harvard Club. With its fusty wood-paneled walls, reverential oil portraits of dead white men, and buffet tables of beef tenderloin and goopy creamed spinach, it was a jarring setting for a night devoted to a story of racial inequality.
(Never mind that the university is embroiled in its own civil rights lawsuit, accused of discriminating against Asian-American applicants.)
Nonetheless, the celebrities were kvelling about the play. “If you liked the novel, it’s as good as having an audiobook with moving pictures,” Samuel L. Jackson said.
His wife, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, stars in the production alongside Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch. Ms. Jackson praised the decision by Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the adaptation, to enhance the role of her character, the Finch family’s maid. “It’s important that these African-American characters are not always seen as scenery, or the backdrop to somebody else’s life,” she said.
Mr. Sorkin, too, seemed satisfied with his work. “My fear was that this would be a suicide mission, that I was going to make it less than what it was originally and reduce the book,” he said, standing beside an enormous vase of plastic flowers. “I don’t think that happened.”
Mr. Daniels, surrounded by his family, recalled his reaction when Mr. Sorkin first mentioned the project two years ago. “It was: ‘Don’t make me read the book if I’m not going to be playing Atticus,’” he said, before adding with a smirk, “Which is like, stupid.”
A far less button-down crowd turned out Friday night for a toy drive organized by Susanne Bartsch and David Barton, reviving a two-decades-old tradition that took a hiatus. It was held at Mr. Barton’s new Greenwich Village branch of his gym, TMPL.
Michael Musto, the night life chronicler, described the thumping club music and colored lights bouncing off the weight machines as “Liza Minnelli’s rec room on steroids, and whatever ecstasy is left from the ’90s.”
Guests, who donated toys for admission, included Alan Cumming; Sonja Morgan from “The Real Housewives of New York City”; Frankie Grande, a YouTube personality; and Amanda Lepore, the transgender performer.
“We brought 150 toys,” said Marc Jacobs, who attended with his fiancé, Char Defrancesco. “We literally researched the most popular toys for boys and girls, and stayed up until 3 in the morning, mad over-ordering.”
Mr. Jacobs wore a reversible Vetements plaid trench coat, while his betrothed sported a Jesus-print ensemble by Supreme. The couple has a wedding date, April 6, but declined to disclose any details. “Just expect a lot of wardrobe changes,” Mr. Jacobs said.
There were more stars in the audience than on the red carpet at the New York premiere of “Mary Poppins Returns,” held Monday at the SVA Theater in Chelsea.
Emily Blunt, who plays the title character, and Lin-Manuel Miranda walked the red carpet alongside the director, Rob Marshall.
“Man, do I think we need Mary Poppins right now,” Mr. Miranda said. “It feels like the world is a scary place, and this movie is two hours of joy.”
Sam Mendes, Martha Stewart, Ellen Burstyn and Michael Kors were at the screening, while Orlando Bloom, Patricia Clarkson, Lorraine Bracco and John Leguizamo also carried on to the after-party at the Top of the Standard.
Mr. Marshall said Julie Andrews, star of the original 1964 film, gave her blessing to the new version but declined his offer to appear in a cameo. “She said, ‘This is Emily’s show, she needs to run with it,’” he said. “It would be like Sean Connery showing up on the set of a Roger Moore James Bond film.”
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