NEW YORK — The faithful were rockin’ at the Cineplex Odeon Ziegfeld during Monday’s premiere of “The Preacher’s Wife,” Penny Marshall’s soulful update of the 1947 classic “The Bishop’s Wife.” But the guests at the party afterward didn’t have to settle for a celluloid image of Whitney Houston belting out gospel: They got the real thing.
Houston looked heavenly in a white suit as she ascended the stage of Roseland Ballroom to perform at the benefit for her children’s foundation and other charities. She couldn’t lure co-star Denzel Washington onstage, but was reunited with fellow cast members Georgia Mass Choir, Lionel Richie, Jenifer Lewis, Loretta Devine and Courtney B. Vance.
Along with Shirley Caesar, Houston had the crowd clapping and stomping to “Joy” and other tunes from the film’s soundtrack. Spotted in the congregation were Marshall, Cissy Houston, Arista Records topper Clive Davis, Samuel Goldwyn Jr., Robert Greenhut, Hans Zimmer, Prince, Ron Perelman, recording artist Monica, Angela Bassett and Chris Rock.
Spreading the good word from the Mouse House were Walt Disney president Michael Ovitz, Walt Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth, motion picture group chairman Dick Cook, Touchstone Pictures prexy Donald DeLine and Buena Vista Pictures marketing president John Cywinski.