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Actors Fund to honor Brian Stokes Mitchell at Tony Awards party that brings Broadway to L.A.

May 25, 2010 |  3:28 pm


Broadway expats and L.A. theater buffs will hold their annual West Coast Tony-watching party on June 13 in a benefit for the Actors Fund at the Skirball Cultural Center.

Tommy Tune, a nine-time Tony winner, will host the event, which will receive a live feed of the awards ceremony from Radio City Music Hall.

After the telecast, Annette Bening will present the Julie Harris Award to Brian Stokes Mitchell for his accomplishments in the theater and his work as chairman of the board of the nonprofit Actors Fund, which assists entertainment and performing arts professionals in need. Mitchell, a popular Broadway leading man, won a 2000 Tony for "Kiss Me, Kate" and has starred in movies and television and on the concert stage.

The evening also will include a tribute to the late actress Lynn Redgrave, a longtime Actors Fund supporter and former vice president.

"This is a time for us to celebrate Broadway in a real Los Angeles way," says David Rambo, the playwright and "CSI" writer/producer, who is producing the event with Marc Cherry, the creator of ABC's "Desperate Housewives." "It's great because a lot of television stars join us and so do a lot of Broadway people who work in film and TV."

With former "Will & Grace" star Sean Hayes hosting this year's award show, Rambo adds, "we expect many of Sean's friends who can't be at Radio City will be with us."

Rambo says one of his and Cherry's main jobs is to "work our Rolodexes and write good material" to keep the crowd entertained during the telecast's commercial breaks. At last year's party, for instance, Jason Alexander sang a love song to Chita Rivera, the 2009 Julie Harris Award honoree.

"It was a song he had sung to her eight times a week in 'The Rink' when they were on Broadway and she loved it," says Rambo. "We are planning a similar musical moment this year."
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-- Karen Wada
Photo: Brian Stokes Mitchell will receive the Actors Fund's Julie Harris Award. Credit: Courtesy of the Actors Fund