met gala

Mega superstar Beyonce Knowles is greeted by Andre Leon Talley upon her arrival at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit on Fifth Avenue in New York City (Photo: Reuters)

*The Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrated their 2012 exhibit — Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations — on Monday, May 7, 2012 with the highly anticipated fabled fashion Costume Institute Gala that is compared to Hollywood’s Oscars.

The star-studded fashion extravaganza did not disappoint as one diva after another ascended the plush red carpeted steps to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and into the blinding lights of a phalanx of paparazzi calling out their names to capture their attention for the definitive fashion shot.

Everyone brought their A game to the party.  Gowns were astonishingly beautiful; and tailored suits were sleekly suitable.  Beyonce brought girl power to the show by causing jaws to drop as she mounted the grand steps where she was welcomed Vogue’s fashion editor Andre Leon Talley who named Beyonce the best dressed fashionista of the evening.

Beyonce looked smashingly stunning wearing Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci comprised of feathers and exaggerated black embroidery that took 350 hours to make.  Pop princess Rihanna was another crowd favorite making her memorable entrance after the red carpet closed in a body-hugging Tom Ford gown — an alligator skin in black with some major fingernails to match.

Gala chairs of this year’s storybook fashion show – that featured a live stream online showing all of the stars arriving on the red carpet — were Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, newlywed actress Carey Mulligan and designer Muccia Prada.  Grammy Award-winning recording artist Bruno Mars donned Prada while performing live with his band that had the fashionable folks dancing out of their expensive shoes.

The Met’s Spring 2012 Costume Institute exhibition, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, explores the striking affinities between Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, two Italian designers from different eras.  Inspired by Miguel Covarrubias‘s “Impossible Interviews” for Vanity Fair in the 1930s, the exhibition features orchestrated conversations between these iconic women to suggest new readings of their most innovative work.

Iconic ensembles are presented with videos of simulated conversations between Schiaparelli and Prada directed by Baz Luhrmann, focusing on how both women explore similar themes in their work through very different approaches. This year’s exhibit will be available from May 10, 2012 through August 31, 2012.

best man

Gore Vidal’s Best Man Opening Night Curtain Call at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre with stellar cast: Tony nominee James Earl Jones, John Larroquette, Candice Bergen, Angela Lansbury, and Michael McKean (Photo by Walter McBride)

*Some of the greatest performances currently on Broadway appear nightly in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man at The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 West 45th Street, Times Square, NYC.  The every director’s “dream team” stars two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones (“Fences” and “The Great White Hope”) who plays Arthur Hockstader, a powerful Truman-esque chief executive deciding between endorsing the potential presidential nominees William Russell and Joe Cantwell in this play about power, ambition, political secrets, ruthlessness and the race for the presidency in this first revival since the critically acclaimed 2000 production.

The play had a celebrated Opening Night on Sunday, April l, 2012 and the producers splurged on an over-the-top glamorous Opening Night post party celebration at the famed 8 ½ Restaurant on West 57th Street, New York City.

The rest of the dream acting team includes Tony and Emmy Award winner John Larroquette, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Candice Bergen, Emmy Award winner Eric McCormack, Tony Award nominee Kerry Butler, Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays, Drama Desk Award winner Michael McKean and five time Tony Award winner Angela Lansbury.

The political satire also features Curtis Billings, Corey Brill, Tony Carlin, Donna Hanover, Sherman Howard, Olja Hrustic, Bill Kux, James Lecesne, Dakin Matthews, Angelica Page, Fred Parker, Jr. and Amy Tribbey.

The all-star theatrical masterpiece is directed by Michael Wilson who recently directed the acclaimed epic production of Horton Foote’s The Orphans Home Cycle Part I, II and III at The Signature Theatre Company as well as the recent Dividing The Estate on Broadway.

Gore Vidal’s The Best Man is set at the presidential convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in July, 2960 where two candidates are vying for their party’s nomination during the primary season.  It’s an inside look at the dirt-digging, double-dealing, triple-crossing chicanery of presidential electioneering and what could be more fun in a presidential campaign season than these theatrical fireworks.  If it sounds familiar, it could just as well be about our current political scene that has all of the drama of a reality TV show.

The difference is that these are seasoned actors and they each bring their A-game to their roles so much so that you’re so captivated that you’ll forget that this is a play – not the real deal.  And what I truly liked about the play is each actor’s interpretation of Vidal’s regal use of words.  There near appeared to be anyone trying to upstage the other.  They all had their parts and they played them to perfection!  If you want to see what the Broadway stage is meant to be about, don’t miss this masterpiece.  A real political powerhouse!

The design team includes Tony and Drama Desk Award winning scenic designer Derek McLane (33 Variations, Anything Goes), Tony and Drama Desk Award winning lighting designer Kenneth Posner (The Coast of Utopia, Part 2 – Shipwreck), five-time Tony Award nominated costume designer Ann Roth (The Book of Mormon), Drama Desk Award winning sound designer John Gromada (Seminar, The Orphans’ Home Cycle) and projection designer Peter Nigrini (Fela!, 9 to 5: The Musical).

The spring 2012 production of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man marks the first major revival of the play reuniting respected Broadway producer and longtime theatrical press agent Jeffrey Richards with his 2000 producers Jerry Frankel, Michael B. Rothfeld (Eagle Productions) and Darren Bagert (Infinity Stages).

The critically acclaimed play received a 2012 Tony Award nomination for Best Revival of a Play.  Legendary actor James Earl Jones also received a nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play.

Now the play, which was originally scheduled to play through July 8, 2012, has been extended a second time, now through Sunday, September 9, 2012.  Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at or by calling (212) 239-6200.

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.

audrey j bernard