Tony Awards Head West to Host 'Broadway in Hollywood' Soiree

WireImage/Courtesy of Slate PR
Executive director of The Broadway League Charlotte St Martin; director of marketing and business development for The Broadway League Jan Svendsen; EVP of specials, music & live events at CBS Jack Sussman; and president and CEO of The American Theatre Wing Heather Hitchens

The party kicked off a series of events leading up to the June 7 ceremony celebrating the best of New York theater.

New York may be home to Broadway, but it was Hollywood that held the first official Tony Awards event of the year.

The organizers behind the awards ceremony hosted an intimate cocktail party Wednesday night in the penthouse suite at the Sunset Tower. With the support of media partner The Hollywood Reporter, the night paid tribute to past Tony Awards honorees and friends from the Great White Way.

Among those in attendance was The Book of Mormon Tony-winner Nikki M. James, who also appeared in Django Unchained; her co-star in the original Mormon cast, Rory O'Malley ;  Revenge's Barry Sloane; The Rothschilds' Hal Linden, also known for his iconic role on Barney MillerThe Secret Garden's Daisy Eagan, the youngest-ever female Tony winner; and LaTanya Richardson Jackson, who appeared on Broadway last season opposite Denzel Washington in A Raisin in the Sun. NBC chief Bob Greenblatt, whose network has embraced live musical events with The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live!, was also present.

The Broadway League executive director Charlotte St. Martin and American Theatre Wing president Heather Hitchens, whose organizations present the Tony Awards together, made a point to say a few words to the attendees about the significance of the awards. "The Tonys is the most powerful advocacy tool for the performing arts in America. We have to keep it alive," Hitchens said to the room before raising her glass to "live theater."

Meanwhile, actress Michele Lee, whose Broadway appearances include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Seesaw and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, made note of the ways she's seen theater pervade other mediums lately.

"So many television shows and movies now have incorporated the love of the musical," the Knots Landing star told THR. "Through so many generations, there is a love of the theater that is growing — not just in Los Angeles, but all over the country." She added of the West Coast city: "While people don't think of it as a theater community, Los Angeles has one that is growing and vibrant."

Guests enjoyed tuna tartare, prosciutto-wrapped dates and crab cakes as they sipped wines from La Crema, the sponsor of the event and the official wine of the Tony Awards, and mingled with fellow Broadway supporters. The evening was just the first of many Tony-related events set to take place leading up to the ceremony on Sunday, June 7.

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