Public Theater hosts annual gala in Central Park

Mysteriously, the Public Theater’s annual gala in Central Park managed to dodge the weather yet again on Monday, with a sunny outdoor dinner followed by a comfortably cool perf of the Dan Sullivan-helmed “All’s Well That Ends Well” at the Delacorte.

Public artistic director Oskar Eustis was cagey about his rain-related connections. “We pay a lot of money for that,” he revealed.

Honoree Gail Merrifield Papp recounted her early years at the theater, working for her future husband Joe Papp in “a one-star hotel on 57th Street that was a hangout for foreign students.”

The honoree also commented briefly on the new fellowship the theater has started in her name. “I’m very glad that there will be a playwright honored every year,” she said,” and also that they’ll be put on the payroll!”

At the Belvedere Castle afterparty, Steve Martin, Kevin Kline and Martin Short rubbed shoulders, while Broadway helmer Gregory Mosher pondered his next project. “I can’t find anybody who wants to do ‘Antigone,'” he sighed. “I have this image in my head of two girls in dirty T-shirts at the end of a seige, arguing about whether to bury their brother as the sun comes up.”

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