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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The (Benefit of a) Suit

The Benefit dinner included several spectral suits floating overhead.
Nonhlanhla Kheswa (L) and William Nadylam (R), the well-dressed lead actors in The Suit. (All photos: Elena Olivo)
BAM’s annual Theater Benefit last week honoring renowned theater, opera, and film director Peter Brook and his production of The Suit got us musing about men’s fashion—and didn't the gents (and ladies) turn it out. At dinner, always fashionable BAM Executive Producer Joseph Melillo (photo below), outfitted in a Michael Kors suit (a change from his usual Hugo Boss), recalled Brook’s long history with BAM and his partnership with visionary impresario Harvey Lichtenstein, who served as long-time president and executive producer of BAM. Together, Brook and Lichtenstein masterminded the renovation of the Majestic Theater, now the BAM Harvey Theater, to host the director’s 1987 staging of the epic The Mahabharata.

Read on for more on Peter, Harvey, and this special evening. The Suit runs through Feb 2.


Peter Brook (L) and Harvey Lichtenstein (R) shake on it. (Photo: Elena Olivo)
Peter Brook and Harvey Lichtenstein first met in 1969 and shortly thereafter, Brook made his debut at BAM with his lauded production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Brook's history with BAM has been long and varied since then, a particular highlight being the now legendary day when he and Harvey broke into the derelict Majestic Theater on a mission to find a place to stage Brook's nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata. The two succeeded, and that fabled production inaugurated the renamed BAM Harvey Theater in 1987. The reunion of these two titans of the arts in the house that they created together was well worth celebrating.

Event Chair Amy Schulman and guests including South African Consul General George Monyemangene, John Turturro, Alba and Francesco Clemente, Mark Morris, Dr. Oliver Sacks, Lynn Nottage, Manhen Bonetti, Isaach De Bankolé, Pat Schoenfeld, and Leila Straus joined hosts Alan Fishman, Karen Brooks Hopkins, and Joseph Melillo at the Great Performances catered affair featuring South African wine provided by Vintage Grape. Bella Myer and her team at Fleurs Bella once again transformed the room into a festive setting worthy of such a celebration.

Following the performance, the cast, including Nonhlanhla Kheswa, Jared McNeill, Rikki Henry, and the dapper William Nadylam (outfitted in Ann Demeulemeester) joined the festivities for a dessert reception in the Campbell Lobby of the theater to accept some much deserved praise for a brilliant performance.

The 2013 BAM Theater Benefit began with a South African-themed dinner in the Lepercq Space (Photo: Elena Olivo)
(L-R) Harvey Lichtenstein,  Joseph V. Melillo, and
BAM Director of Artist Services Mary Reilly
(Photo: Elena Olivo)
Benefit Chair Amy Schulman
and her three well-suited sons. (Photo: Elena Olivo)
(L-R) Director Peter Brook and BAM Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo (Photo: Elena Olivo)
(L-R) Cast members Rikki Henry, Nonhlanhla Kheswa, and Jared McNeill at the
post-show dessert party. (Photo: Elena Olivo)
(L-R) Arthur Astier, David Dupuis, and Raphaël Chambouvet, The Suit's "fine, chameleon musicians"
(Photo: Elena Olivo)
Our friends at Brooklyn Gin suited up and served up a specialty cocktail, "The Themba," named in
honor of Can Themba, author of the original short-story The Suit is based on. (Photo: Elena Olivo)




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