Tina Fey Cracks Scott Rudin Joke, Jane Krakowski Covers Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland During Roundabout Theatre Gala

It may not have been a full Broadway production, but the Roundabout Theatre Company nonetheless knows how to welcome live theater back to New York City.

The 56-year-old performing arts organization hosted its 2021 gala, “Curtain Up, Light the Lights!,” in Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield on Monday night. It marked one of the first large-scale events to take place in the park since the pandemic. The evening, which raised more than $3.1 million for the Roundabout, began with video messages from Emma Stone and Rachel Brosnahan, as well as a pre-taped performance by Harry Connick Jr. Whoopi Goldberg, via video, honored Sen. Chuck Schumer for his efforts to pass the Save Our Stages Act, which provides much-needed grants to live-arts venues severely impacted by the pandemic.

The main attraction for the 400 guests, who had to provide proof of a negative COVID test or full vaccination to attend before having their temperature taken upon check-in, was a concert by Tony winner Jane Krakowski accompanied by The New York City Pops.

Tina Fey introduced her on the David Rockwell-designed stage. “So thrilled to be with a group of people without a mask on,” Fey said. “I think I got a little used to the anonymity of the mask. I am hoping that whenever the next pandemic happens, it’s somehow medically necessary to tie a sweatshirt around your stomach.”

Like most of the presenters throughout the evening, Fey said she is overjoyed that Broadway theaters are reopening. “I don’t think it’s going to be easy. I’m going to call it right now — we are going to see some dancers with low butts for the first couple of weeks, but after a month or so, they’re going to get back up to where they need to be,” Fey said. “It’s going to be worth it. On the lighter side, all of the Evan Hansens are dating each other now. So they made the best of the downtime.” Ben Platt, who won a Tony for his starring role in “Evan Hansen,” is currently dating Noah Galvin, who replaced him in the hit musical.

Fey recalled how Krakowski, in 2016, “was famously dragged across the stage in ‘She Loves Me’ while doing a split.”

“Not by Scott Rudin,” Fey cracked. “It was part of the play.”

Krakowski wowed the audience with a 60-minute show that began with a performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from “Moulin Rouge!” She also dueted with Tituss Burgess and Adrienne Warren.

An emotional Krakowski spoke of hearing people banging pots out of their windows in honor of frontline workers during the pandemic, saying the night was not only about the return of Broadway, but also “about bringing New York back.” She ended her act by singing “I Happen to Like New York.”

A live auction included one patron paying $100,000 for a dinner for 14 on the set of the upcoming play “Birthday Candles” with star Debra Messing and the Roundabout’s artistic director and CEO Todd Haimes. A VIP package for the West End, including a meet-and-greet with Eddie Redmayne, went for $32,000.

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