Hollywood, Broadway and Nashville came together for the unforgettable 22nd annual “A Night At Sardi’s” gala. The ultra-entertaining fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association showcased talented Hollywood TV stars singing Broadway tunes. Plus country superstar Glen Campbell was honored for bravely revealing his battle with Alzheimer’s in 2011 and then going forward with his “farewell” concert tour. Due to his illness Campbell was unable to attend, but his wife Kim and family were on hand to accept the inaugural Glen Campbell Courage Award, and they sang along with all the stellar performers in a tribute to the beloved “Rhinestone Cowboy” as a grand finale.
The show started with Mad Men’s Ben Feldman and Suits’ Sarah Rafferty welcoming the crowd. The star-studded lineup of singers doing the “Broadway’s Best” event theme at the Beverly Hilton included Beau Bridges (The Millers) sweetly singing “More I Cannot Wish,” Annaleigh Ashford (Masters of Sex) with “Adelaide’s Lament,” Briana Cuoco (The Voice) with “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” Scott Porter (Hart of Dixie) with “Leave,” Christine Ebersole (Sullivan & Son) with “The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe,” Vicki Lewis (Newsradio) with “Some People,” Andrew Rannells (Girls) with “What Kind of Fool Am I,” Sam Harris (Rules of Engagement) with “Use What You’ve Got,” and Shoshana Bean (Wicked) belting out “Defying Gravity.”
Among the many show-stopping numbers were Dallas regular Steven Weber, deliciously evil in drag as the schoolmistress, doing “The Smell Of Rebellion” from Matilda; Joey McIntyre (NKOTB) doing a “Jailhouse Rock” medley; and the always charming Barrett Foa (NCIS:LA) with the high-energy “She Loves Me.” Plus Beth Behrs and her Two Broke Girls castmate Jonathan Kite wowed the crowd with their “Suddenly Seymour” duet from Little Shop of Horrors.
Since he starred in the revival, John Stamos (Full House) came out to do “I Believe In You” from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Then Robert Morse (Mad Men), star of the original Broadway musical, joined him for a wild crowd-pleasing duet.
Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex) introduced event founders Laurie Burrows Grad and her husband Peter Grad who co-chair and have raised more than $23 million for the cause over the years. It is a wonderful tribute to the late Broadway great Abe Burrows who wrote How to Succeed, Guys and Dolls, and other classic stage shows. He was producer-director Jimmy Burrows and Laurie’s dad, who battled the disease. Now his memory lives on with the one-night-only Broadway-quality revue and the Abe Burrows Entertainment Award that is handed out.
This year Bob Newhart presented the honor to the cast of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory for supporting the Alzheimer’s event for six years. Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik, Melissa Rauch, and everyone’s favorite annoying nerd Jim Parsons took well-deserved bows and talked about the organization that is dear to their hearts and their love for performing at “A Night At Sardi’s,” “even if we’re not the best singers we always have fun.” Their endorsement of the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission to provide funds for research and care for victims of the disease has helped raise millions.
Later the “Bangers” sported western hats and joined in for the finale, with the entire audience of Alzheimer’s Association supporters belting out “Rhinestone Cowboy.” It followed a musical tribute to Glen Campbell featuring Grammy winning songwriter Jimmy Webb doing his classic “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.” Keith Caradine (Fargo) sang “Galveston,” Grace Potter did “Wichita Lineman,” Victoria Ghost did “Southern Nights,” and Glen’s talented daughter Ashley and son Shannon Campbell performed the heart-tugging tune “Remembering.”
Many entertainment industry notables were on hand to support the cause including Michael Nouri (Flashdance, NCIS) who told me his first Broadway show Forty Carats was directed by Abe Burrows. “During the first rehearsal Abe told me to get rid of my expensive size-15 shoes, because they were upstaging me. And he had to teach me to walk because he said I walked ‘like a monkey.’ He taught me to have a sense of my body and stature, which I’ve never forgotten. That influenced the way I carry myself, so now I walk like a sophisticated Orangutan,” the very suave Nouri joked. Michael also mentioned that he has great memories of waiting for reviews at Sardi’s after a show’s opening night. A night at Sardi’s is a grand Broadway tradition.