“This night is killing him,” Kelly Ripa said Monday night in Bryan Lourd‘s living room.
Well, it wasn’t actually in Lourd’s gracious New York penthouse, but it was a close approximation, designed by architect and set designer David Rockwell for the American Songbook gala performance honoring the CAA managing director. “He hates the spotlight. He hates a big fuss,” Ripa said. So the organizers tried to make him feel more at home by bringing home to him.
It was there on the Tully stage that a starry collection of clients and friends gathered to honor him and, in many cases, serenade him. Anne Hathaway sang LCD Soundsystem’s “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” which started torchy but built to a rocking conclusion complete with a burst of air guitar, while Matt Bomer called up Billie Lourd — the daughter of the evening’s honoree — to join him onstage for a rendition of Neil Young’s “Old Man.” “We couldn’t find a song called ‘Middle Aged Man,’ so we had to go with this one,” cracked Billie.
Lourd loves theater, so Kristin Chenoweth sang Jerome Kern and Allison Williams crooned “Some Enchanted Evening.” Sarah Jessica Parker returned to “Annie” — in which she played the title role back in 1979 — for “N.Y.C.” (followed by a bit of “What I Did for Love” from “A Chorus Line”) and Alan Cumming got tipsy with Stephen Sondheim’s “The Ladies Who Lunch.”
Ellen Barkin, Patricia Clarkson and Daniel Craig were among the stars who didn’t sing (“Lucky for you,” Craig quipped about himself). Neither did Marisa Tomei, who lives in the same apartment building as Lourd. “Bryan, I love you, and I know the condo board loves you, which I think is a bigger feat than this whole evening right now,” she said. “Can I get a ride home, by the way?”
There was a lot of love in general for Lourd — so much you could count it. The crowd of some 750 people was twice as many as usually turn out for the annual American Songbook gala, according to Lincoln Center chair Katherine Farley. They raised twice as much money as they usually do, too, bringing in $2.75 million for nonprofit Lincoln Center. Also in the crowd: Madonna, Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth, Gwyneth Paltrow, Whoopi Goldberg and Liam Neeson.
When it was all over Lourd took the stage at last. “I’m mostly concerned because we haven’t signed Billie yet, and I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he joked.