The event: The cast and filmmakers behind "Still Alice" were saluted at the annual celebrity music revue "A Night at Sardi's" on Wednesday at the Beverly Hilton.
The event, which benefited the Alzheimer’s Assn., also honored Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block with the Caregiver of the Year Award.
The scene: Maybe it’s no surprise that music revue performers McIntyre, Jessica Sanchez of “American Idol” and theater veterans including Jason Alexander, Josh Gad and Robert Morse can belt out a Broadway tune. But many other stars of stage and screen also showed they have impressive vocal talents.
Among them were Zachary Levi of “Chuck,” Hunter Parrish of “Still Alice,” Steven Weber of “Wings,” Lea Thompson of "Switched at Birth,” Timothy Omundson and Karen David of “Galavant,” Jenifer Lewis of “black-ish,” Scott Porter of “Hart of Dixie,” Kerris Dorsey of “Ray Donovan,” Tyler Ritter and Jack McGee of “The McCarthys,” Beau Bridges of "Masters of Sex" and singers Grace Potter and Tammy Infusino.
More participants: “We’re happy that we’re not singing,” said Kunal Nayyar, onstage with his "The Big Bang Theory" castmates Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Simon Helberg, Jim Parsons and Melissa Rauch. That said, the group -- last year’s honorees -- performed major production numbers in previous years, as shown in a film clip in which they sang “You Gotta Have Heart” with actor J.K. Simmons of "Whiplash."
Co-chairs Laurie Burrows Grad -- who founded "A Night at Sardi's" 23 years ago after losing her father, theater impresario Abe Burrows, to Alzheimer's -- and her husband, Peter Grad, also took turns at the podium. Other speakers included Ben Feldman of “A to Z,” Sarah Rafferty of “Suits,” Matt Lanter of “90210,” Kimberly Williams-Paisley of “Nashville” and Grad's brother, TV director Jim Burrows, among others.
Quote of note: Former California First Lady Maria Shriver, executive producer of "Still Alice" -- in which Julianne Moore, in an Oscar-winning performance, plays a college professor coping with early-onset Alzheimer's disease -- called the concept of “being still here” a great thesis for the evening.
“It’s hard to remember that there’s still a human being in there when someone gets a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s,” she said. “My dad [Peace Corps founder Sargent Shriver, who died in 2011] was diagnosed in 2003 and I struggled myself to still find the man that I had grown up with in his diagnosis. It was really my children who taught me how to be still enough that I could find my father in the person who was sitting there, but then would kind of disappear in front of my eyes.”
Shriver said she loves it that “Still Alice” reminds viewers that people who have Alzheimer’s “are still with us. They’re struggling. They’re trying. They’re trying to be members of society. They’re trying to be still in our families and they’re trying to be still with us.”
The numbers: Proceeds topped $1.1 million from more than 800 guests with tickets priced from $500 each and tables ranging to $50,000. To date, the annual gala has raised more than $25 million to support Alzheimer’s care, support and research programs.
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