Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were receiving congrats from everyone. They had masterminded the unique showmanship that filled UCLA’s Royce Hall Stage, Tuesday night under the banner of “One Night Only.” With their scripts held on high in one hand and their voices highlighting a liberal version of the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart 1936 hit, “You Can’t Take It With You” 19 stalwart thesps performed under the direction (mostly!) by Nora Ephron. Hanks opened the festivities by admitting he did not have the grades to get into UCLA–“SO this is my REVENGE!” He warned that “there are several large actors” backstage and that if any “Nokia, Blackberry, Verizon or Quiznos” went off during the performance they would send Jon Hamm into the audience “to pummel you and send your sorry asses across town to USC.” The hall rocked with laughter and never stopped until the finale when the heavily-industry-scattered audience, still laughing, segued into the Along Came Mary party.
The evening raised $300,000 for UCLA’s School Of Theater, Film and Television. Dean Robert Rosen said, “We are thrilled with the response from our friends in the entertainment industry even during this very challenging economic climate–with help from numerous individual and corporate sponsors. This is an inaugural event intended to continue annually long into the future.” It’s a tough act to follow. The performers: Caroline Aaron, Dave Annable, Maria Bamford, Annette Bening, Kevin Chamberlain, James Cromwell, Ian Gomez, Jon Hamm, Peter Krause, Mila Kunis, William Shatner, Martin Short, Alicia Silverstone, Holland Taylor, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks. During the curtain call, Hanks aptly signaled the end by tossing the script pages into the audience. They loved it–and him–and Rita for the unusually creative night–and whattan act for Bruin thesps to follow?