‘Still Alice’ hon­ored

Los Angeles Times - - IMAGE - By Ellen Olivier

The event: The cast and film­mak­ers be­hind “Still Alice” were saluted at the an­nual celebrity mu­sic re­vue “A Night at Sardi’s” on March 18 at the Bev­erly Hil­ton.

The gala, which ben­e­fited the Alzheimer’s Assn., also hon­ored Joey McIn­tyre of New Kids on the Block with the Care­giver of the Year Award. The scene: Maybe it’s no sur­prise that mu­sic re­vue per­form­ers McIn­tyre, Jes­sica Sanchez of “Amer­i­can Idol” and theater vet­er­ans in­clud­ing Ja­son Alexander, Josh Gad and Robert Morse can belt out a Broad­way tune. But many other stars of stage and screen also showed they have im­pres­sive vo­cal tal­ents.

Among them were Zachary Levi of “Chuck,” Hunter Par­rish of “Still Alice,” Steven We­ber of “Wings,” Lea Thomp­son of “Switched at Birth,” Ti­mothy Omund­son and Karen David of “Gala­vant,” Jenifer Lewis of “black-ish,” Scott Porter of “Hart of Dixie,” Ker­ris Dorsey of “Ray Dono­van,” Tyler Rit­ter and Jack McGee of “The McCarthys,” Beau Bridges of “Masters of Sex” and singers Grace Pot­ter and Tammy In­fusino.

More par­tic­i­pants: “We’re happy that we’re not singing,” said Kunal Nay­yar, on­stage with his “The Big Bang The­ory” cast mates Johnny Galecki, Ka­ley Cuo­coSweet­ing, Simon Hel­berg, Jim Par­sons and Melissa Rauch. That said, the group — last year’s hon­orees — per­formed ma­jor num­bers in pre­vi­ous years, as shown in a film clip in which they sang “You Gotta Have Heart” with ac­tor J.K. Sim­mons of “Whiplash.”

Co-chairs Lau­rie Bur­rows Grad — who founded “A Night at Sardi’s” 23 years ago af­ter los­ing her fa­ther, theater im­pre­sario Abe Bur­rows, to Alzheimer’s — and her hus­band, Peter Grad, also took turns on the podium. Other speak­ers in­cluded Ben Feld­man of “A to Z,” Sarah Raf­ferty of “Suits,” Matt Lan­ter of “90210,” Kim­berly Wil­liams-Pais­ley of “Nashville” and Grad’s brother, TV direc­tor Jim Bur­rows, among oth­ers. Quote of note: For­mer Cal­i­for­nia First Lady Maria Shriver, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of “Still Alice” — in which Ju­lianne Moore, in an Os­car-win­ning per­for­mance, plays a pro­fes­sor cop­ing with early-on­set Alzheimer’s dis­ease — called the con­cept of “be­ing still here” a great the­sis for the evening.

“It’s hard to re­mem­ber that there’s still a hu­man be­ing in there when some­one gets a di­ag­no­sis of Alzheimer’s,” she said. “My dad [Peace Corps founder Sar­gent Shriver, who died in 2011] was di­ag­nosed in 2003 and I strug­gled my­self to still find the man that I had grown up with in his di­ag­no­sis. It was re­ally my chil­dren who taught me how to be still enough that I could find my fa­ther in the per­son who was sit­ting there, but then would kind of dis­ap­pear in front of my eyes.”

Shriver said she loves it that “Still Alice” re­minds view­ers that peo­ple who have Alzheimer’s “are still with us. They’re strug­gling. They’re try­ing. They’re try­ing to be mem­bers of so­ci­ety. They’re try­ing to be still in our fam­i­lies, and they’re try­ing to be still with us.”

The num­bers: Pro­ceeds topped $1.1 mil­lion from more than 800 guests with tick­ets priced from $500 each and ta­bles rang­ing to $50,000. To date, the an­nual gala has raised more than $25 mil­lion to sup­port Alzheimer’s care, sup­port and re­search pro­grams. Ellen Olivier is founder of So­ci­ety News LA im­age@la­times.com

Jor­dan Strauss Invision for Alzheimer’s Assn.

JA­SON ALEXANDER gets a lit­tle help dur­ing his per­for­mance at the “Night at Sardi’s” event for the Alzheimer’s Assn.

Kevin Win­ter Getty Images

JENIFER LEWIS

belts out tune at Alzheimer’s Assn. ben­e­fit.

Kevin Win­ter Getty Images

SINGER Joey McIn­tyre is named Care­giver of the Year.

Kevin Win­ter Getty Images

MARIA SHRIVER ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced the film “Still Alice.”

Bar­bara David­son Los An­ge­les Times

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