The ballroom of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel was transformed into a dramatic homage to the Big Apple -- complete with NYC street sounds and a Manhattan Supper Club, when the NYU Tisch School of the Arts honored Oliver Stone and Liza Chasin at their West Coast Benefit Gala. Tisch alumna, director and award winning star of ABC’s Greys Anatomy, Chandra Wilson, co-hosted the benefit; along with alumnus Tony & Grammy Award wining actor Steve Kazee, Wallis Annenberg, Michael J. Fox and Steve Tisch. More than 350 guests wildly applauded the current Tisch students singing & dancing their way through a montage of show-stopping numbers, including New York City Mash Up, On Broadway and other NYC themed songs.
The Tisch big Apple Award was presented to Liz Chasin, President of Working Title films. A few of her credits include Dead Man Walking, Notting Hill, and Love Actually.
Currently she is in production on Trash, a film written by Richard Curtis, based on Andy Mulligan’s novella.
Academy Award winner Oliver Stone, who has written and directed over 20 full-length feature films including Natural Born Killers, JFK, and Nixon, received his award from Stanley Weiser, his long time friend and writing partner. Stone who graduated Tisch School in 1971, reminisced about his popcorn days at the school, and his early instructor Martin Scorsese. Hollywood was a mystical place at that time, and he embraced the tough talking NY state of mind. As he stated: “ Forty years later, I am in LA, and still trying to write and direct, and waiting for that bell to ring, or that ax to fall.”
Some of the former students of this prestigious school include Academy Award winners Marcia Gay Harden and Ang Lee; and Emmy Award winners Alec Baldwin, Billy Crystal and Debra Messing. Not a bad resume for any institution of higher learning. The best news is that over $1 million was raised that evening to support the next generation of young artists who will follow in Liza and Oliver’s footsteps
At another star-studded event, The Guild of Big Brothers Big Sisters of L.A. honored Roy P. Disney, Megan Colligan (Paramount Pictures), and Cynthia Bengtson-Budzyn, Co-Founder of Big Sisters in 1979. This organization is dedicated to promoting awareness and raising funds to support BBBS of Greater L.A. Helmed by Mary Willard (Fred Willard’s lovely wife), they are a volunteer group of prominent women & men, who have raised over $10 million to support their various programs.
The event featured a performance by Grammy Award winning singer Jodi Benson and singer/songwriter, Jensen McRae. Sherry Lansing and Steve Soboroff were Honorary Chairs, and Sandy Bilson and Sarah Purcell Co-Chaired the SRO gala.
For 58 years, BBBS has served children and families facing adversity. For information how you can become involved, please visit their website: www.BBBSLA.org.