Tribute to a Stellar Pair in Theater

There are stars. And then there are people who make stars shine--like playwright Neil Simon and theatrical impresario Bobby Fryer.

Now, the stars will shine for them, as Simon and Fryer (to be cited for his 20 years as artistic director of the Ahmanson Theatre) will be honored Sept. 9.

A lengthy list of stars who have worked with Simon and/or Fryer will turn out to perform in a tribute orchestrated by ABC's Gary Pudney. Already announced are Lucie Arnaz, Gwen Verdon, Matthew Broderick, Lynn Redgrave, Sally Struthers and the wonderful Roddy McDowall.

"It's an evening that money can't buy. They will never see this again--people who have worked with Neil paying tribute to him," Anne Johnson, the evening's chair, said. The black-tie bash at the Century Plaza will benefit the Music Center--a favorite of Simon, who has premiered five of his hits at the Ahmanson before their successful runs on Broadway, among them "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "Biloxi Blues."

MCA's Lew Wasserman and Dorothy Chandler are the evening's honorary chairs, while Peggy Parker and Shelby Conti are co-chairs, with Joy Fein chairing the tribute book.

The committee roster reads like a Hollywood Who's Who, with folks like Alexis and Johnny Carson, Richard Dreyfuss, Jane and Michael Eisner, Lydia and Charlton Heston, Pat and Walter Mirisch, David Geffen, Ray Stark, Felisa and Nick Vanoff, Barry Diller, and more and more.

GLORIOUS CRAB CAKES--That's right. Patriotic East Coast refugees will be delighted--as will art lovers--when the County Museum of Art celebrates the opening of the Flag Paintings of Childe Hassam on Aug. 20.

The Times Mirror Central Court is the site of the party--with promises of an old-fashioned evening with a buffet of all-American food, Dixieland, barbershop quartets and a very good time.

Oh, yes, at an "old-fashioned price" of $99.95. Kudos to Judith G. Jones, who is chairing the evening, along with honorary chairs Jo Ann and Julian Ganz Jr. for thinking up such a good time. (And to Beverly and Herbert Gelfand for undertaking the underwriting.)

UPCOMING--It's a clever idea. The directors of Neighbor to Neighbor are hosting "Strikes for Peace." No, not a demonstration or protest. It's a bowling party at the Bayshore Bowl on Saturday, supporting the efforts of the organization that is "working for peace in Central America through a unique combination of grass-roots organization, national media and Washington, D.C., lobbying."

Fred Ross Sr., the veteran organizer from the United Farm Workers Union, this fall will be training people to get out the vote in what have been targeted as 10 crucial congressional races.

Among the other hosts for the evening: recording industry mogul Danny Goldberg, Metropolitan Theaters' Bruce Corwin and Democratic Party activists like John Emerson, Rick Allen and Patricia Duff Medavoy.

AND ANOTHER GREAT IDEA--Robinson's knows how to open stores with flash and dash. And they've really done it up for the Sept. 1 opening of the new store in the Northridge Fashion Center. It's called Robinson's Preview Shopping Day and Charity Benefit--and 57 (count 'em, 57) charities will benefit.

The proceeds from every $5 ticket sold by each organization will go directly to that organization--and to fuel up for hefty shopping chores, guests will get to chow down on delicacies from Rococo. Plus, Robinson's will donate $2,500 to the group with the highest sales.

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