1:04am PT by Chris Gardner, Ingrid Schmidt
Ben Platt Performs "Somewhere" at A-List Fundraiser Capping off Mayor Pete Buttigieg's L.A. Blitz
Mayor Pete Buttigieg shared a stage with Tony winner Ben Platt in a Tony enclave of Los Angeles Thursday night, capping off his latest fundraising blitz that saw him shaking hands with A-list Hollywood insiders and tackling topics from health care and racism to narrowing the political divide.
And it wasn't exactly a "stage," but rather the concrete back patio belonging to couple Kevin MacLellan and Brian Curran. MacLellan serves as chairman of global distribution and international at NBCUniversal, and the duo had their names printed on the official invite along with Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia de Rossi, Chelsea Handler, Sean Hayes and husband Scott Icenogle, Oscar winning producer Michael Sugar and wife Lauren Sugar, Samantha Platt Auerbach and Michael Auerbach, Jason Bateman and wife Amanda Anka, West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico & Keith Rand, top interior designer Timothy Corrigan, The One Campaign's Robert J Pilon, Jr., Courtney and Greg Kearns and the Swan Group's Tom Swan.
The event — held from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. — sold out per ActBlue, with prices ranging from $250-$2800. Several hundred guests looked on as Platt performed a rendition of "Somewhere," a song made famous by the Broadway musical West Side Story and later as a single from Barbra Streisand. It is worth nothing that Platt next stars in Ryan Murphy's The Politician on Netflix, playing a young man who has known since age 7 that he was to be president of the United States. (The series drops in September.)
It was his vocal chops that impressed Buttigieg, who took the microphone after Platt and thanked him for coming out to a backyard in Hancock Park. "We don't get that at every fundraiser," Buttigieg says in a video captured on Platt's Instagram stories and posted below. "That's really special. You sound even better here than you do on the speakers at our house when Chasten fires them up."
According to another executive who attended the fundraiser and posted on social media, Buttigieg came across as "articulate, educated, empathetic, well-intentioned and with ideas." It's unclear what other boldfaced names attended the event. A NBCUniversal rep did not respond to THR's request for comment, nor did several of the members of the host committee.
It wasn't his only appearance in Hancock Park on Thursday, as he also held an afternoon fundraiser from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the home of Ease Entertainment's Mike Rose and Ruben Rodriguez. Their event was among the slew of fundraisers that Buttigieg rescheduled last month following the officer-involved shooting death of a black man in South Bend, Indiana, where he serves as mayor.
Another event that made it back on Buttigieg's books that was held today was a high-profile luncheon at the exclusive San Vicente Bungalows West Hollywood. That's where he started his blitz, just after 12 p.m. for an event co-hosted by Nicole Avant (former ambassador to the Bahamas and wife of Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos), Jill Goldman, Vicki Kennedy, Jeff Klein, Colleen Bell, Kawanna Brown, Mandana Dayani, John Di Minico, Carol Ann Emquies, Lena Kennedy, Lauren King, Mai Lassiter, Carla du Manoir, Irena Medavoy, Jane Nathanson, Daryl and Robert Offer, Amy Oresman, Damone Roberts, Wendy Riva, Nadine Schiff, Ina Treciokas and Erin Westerman. Also spotted inside were producer Mike Medavoy, artist Shepard Fairey and movie producer John Goldwyn.
During the luncheon, Buttigieg spoke to his supporters and also participated in an open Q&A forum, said to be his only one of the day. Topics covered included racism, inequality, solutions for America's complicated healthcare system and how to bridge the political divide between Democrats and Republicans. "He was incredible," an attendee told THR.
Maybe it was because of his imminent arrival in Los Angeles (following a string of appearances in the San Francisco Bay Area earlier in the week) but Buttigieg's name easily became the subject of conversation at San Vincente Bungalows on Wednesday evening during a private dinner toasting the collaboration between Tamara Mellon footwear and the fashion brand A.L.C. Ellen Pompeo, for one, said that so many points of Buttigieg's personal history are speaking to her.
"Right now, at this particular moment, I love Pete Buttigieg. Obviously nobody knows how this is going [to turn out] and it’s a very tough climate because of the toxic masculinity that seems to be prevalent in the Republican party and with the Trump supporters. It seems like the climate out there is really so poisonous," she explained. "But I love Mayor Pete. He has something very Kennedy-esque about him. He’s young. He’s handsome. He’s brave. He has a lot of qualities that the Kennedys had in the ‘60s. There’s something incredibly open about him, and his authenticity really comes through."
She detailed his "pedigree" with studying at Harvard and Oxford, speaking eight languages and serving in the military. "For someone like him who has all those school bills to pay off, for him to go back to his home town of South Bend, Indiana speaks to his character. Anyone else would go to New York or D.C. or a big city, get a big job at a big law firm and try to pay back all those student loans. The fact that he wanted to go to South Bend and try to fix where he came from, that’s all I need to hear," she continued.
Andie MacDowell, also in attendance, said that despite being from the South, where many of her relatives swear allegiance to the Republican party, she has moved over to the Democratic side. "I’m a solid Democrat now only because of the actions that Trump took towards not supporting the environment and the lack of support from the Republicans with the choices that he made. I was flabbergasted that they are allowing him to do what he does and to take us out of the Paris agreement and to move backward on every level. ... I like Mayor Pete Buttigieg. I like his personality and also he was military so he’s got that whole thing. I have to read more."
Somewhere pic.twitter.com/5Q9EMBeyT6— Ben Platt (@BenSPLATT) July 26, 2019