Last night at the New York Public Library, the last scions of the Great White Way congregated to celebrate the release of Mr Broadway, a memoir penned by the late Shubert Organization’s chairman, Gerald Schoenfeld. Mr. Schoenfeld had passed away a month before the book was finished in 2008, but everyone in the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Trustees Room seemed to know the story of the hot-tempered man who was widely credited for saving Broadway from collapse in the 70s.
After being confused for the caterer on our arrival, we checked out the intimate scene for the book party. On hand for the evening were hosts Candice Bergen, Marshall Rose, and Annette de la Renta. Whoopi Goldberg spoke to Alan Rickman quietly in the corner. We tried to approach Mr. Rickman first, telling him how much we enjoyed Seminar, but were met by a Professor Snape-like stare and a curt “Thank You.” We fared better with Ms. Goldberg, who happened to be wearing a very unique pair of polka-dotted flats.
“Are those shoes from Irregular Choice?” We gasped. The Prince and Lafayette boutique was our favorite place for footwear.
“They are! Do you have the type the sneakers that light up?” Ms. Goldberg asked us.
“No! We have the space boots with the toys inside them! Do you know they have a store in London?”
“Yes, on Cambridge Street! I couldn’t believe it!”
Shoe sisters forever, we decided to ask Ms. Goldberg about the man in question.
“Jerry could be so incredibly mean when he was angry,” Ms. Goldberg confided. “Luckily, he was never angry at me.” Ms. Goldberg later recounted a similar story during her brief time holding the microphone. Mr. Schoenfeld had encouraged Ms. Goldberg to do her self-titled one-woman show in 1984, and told The View host to come back to the stage for a revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 1996.
“I saw him get mad at other people, but never me, thank God,” Ms. Goldberg told us privately. Also on hand for the evening was Mr. Schoenfeld’s widow, Pat Schoenfeld.
“Any funny stories about you and your husband that didn’t make it into his memoir?” We asked. Ms. Schoenfeld stared at us, not unlike Mr. Rickman. (Okay, so maybe we were a little under-dressed for the occasion.) “We had 55 years together, our story is too long to tell you right now,” she replied.
Maybe we should just read the book. Luckily, the publicist handed us two copies of Mr. Broadway on our way out the door. Lucky for us, we happened to catch the elevator with Mr. Rickman, who glowered as the numbers move slowly down.
“As long as I make it out of this damn elevator,” the thespian drawled in response to a friend’s unheard question.
The takeaway? Never get into a small space with Alan Rickman, because he is terrifying. Also, Whoopi Goldberg has great taste in shoes.
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