Tina Fey took time out from the opening of her husband’s latest Broadway effort on Monday night to shower praise on NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt as he received the Actors Fund’s Medal of Honor.
Fey noted that during her 19 years of working at NBC she’s seen nine heads of NBC come and go. Greenblatt, who has run the entertainment side of the network since 2011, stands out as uniquely qualified for the job, drawing an analogy to characters from her NBC comedy “30 Rock.”
“He comes from a creative background, not a corporate one,” Fey told the crowd at the Marriott Marquis. “Bob Greenblatt is much more Kenneth the Page than Jack Donaghy.”
Fey hustled across the street in Times Square to present Greenblatt’s kudo shortly after the opening of Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s one-man effort “Fully Committed,” which features original music by her husband, Jeff Richmond.
Before Fey’s tribute, which Greenblatt joked he wanted to “option for his eulogy,” Megan Hilty hit the stage. Accompanied by Marc Shaiman, the actress performed Just Keep Moving the Line,” a number from “Bombshell,” the faux musical at the center of the NBC tuner-drama “Smash,” in which Hilty co-starred and Shaiman penned music.
Greenblatt told the crowd of legiters that the ability to shine a light on the theatrical experience has been particularly meaningful to him. NBC has plans for two live stage play-like productions in the coming months, “Hairspray,” which will be NBC’s fourth annual live holiday musical in early December, and an adaptation of Aaron Sorkin’s “A Few Good Men.”
Greenblatt said he never forgets being a “theater nerd” youth growing up in Rockford, Ill., and wondering if he would ever get to see a Broadway show, let alone produce one.
“Using the the big footprint of television to send live theater back to the living rooms of places like Illinois is one of the highest points of my career,” Greenblatt said.
Also feted Monday by the Actors Fund, which provides financial assistance to actors and others in the theater community, were Michael Douglas, ballerina Cynthia Gregory, director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw and Emilio and Gloria Estefan, producers and subjects of the Broadway tuner “On Your Feet.”
Nicholaw got emotional recalling how he’d asked the Actors Fund for help in paying his rent more than 20 years ago when he was a struggling actor. This year he will have four shows running on the Main Stem. “It’s come full circle,” he said.
(Pictured: Tina Fey, Bob Greenblatt, Megan Hilty)