It was just like 1986 Monday night at Roseland Ballroom for the Naked Angels’ 25th anniversary gala as Liev Schreiber and his son took turns serving one another dance moves to songs like “Little Red Corvette,” “Borderline” and “Take My Breath Away.”
According to company lore, the theater company known as the Naked Angels was born “on a hot summer night at a dive bar in Hell’s Kitchen.” One suspects that the per person cost that night was somewhat less than the $500 ponied up by everyone at Roseland.
“One Big Ball,” as the event was called, included a full evening of sketch comedy and musical revue. Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick were listed as honorary co-chairs: He showed up via a “live Skype feed” to do his best Ferris Bueller impersonation. She was entirely absent.
The opening song, “Another Fucking Benefit,” laid out the aims of the evening: “It’s another fucking benefit/another fucking show/where we pass the hat/to everyone we know.” Additional funds were then solicited for 3Thursdays, a creative writing and acting workshop that the Angels have launched in the New York public schools.
The sketch comedy featured actors in various historical epochs attempting to figure out how they could create their best work. Staged by Joe Mantello and featuring, among others, Evan Handler, Marisa Tomei, Ron Rifkin, Rob Morrow and Gina Gershon, the performance might have been good but was definitely inaudible, because, despite it being a room full of theater professionals, no one could find the microphone. Lili Taylor made up for it by just screaming her lines as an ornery bar maid.
This Variety reporter did not stick around long enough to verify whether Morrow made good on his promise to “lock the doors and eat a bunch of mushrooms.”