One of my favorite scenes took place after curtain call. With the entire cast still gathered on stage, the house announcer appeared and began an auction to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Up for bids: a long white robe in the vein of Norman Desmond. It was autographed by everyone in the company. Bids launched at $500 and jumped quickly to $1,000. To entice more enthusiasm from the audience, Glenn Close threw it over her shoulders and modeled it at center stage. Someone yelled:
Sensing the momentum, she grinned “I’ll even throw in my gloves” and gradually removed them.
I was thinking the wagers were done when this gentleman two rows above and beside me shouted:
A deep gasp ricocheted across the theater. But the house announcer didn’t miss a beat.
“How ’bout we put up two signed robes then? We have an extra one, don’t we? Yeah?” He looked off stage.
“Okay, right. If I get two people to bid $4,000 each, you both get a robe!”
There was silence. No one could speak.
“All right,” Close said, “You can even come backstage and take a picture with me.”
There were widespread mutterings, yet the house went still. Then Close, suddenly adopting the tone she used to portray Alex Forrest in the film Fatal Attraction, warned:
“Oh, c’mon. Don’t make me go pull a bunny out of a boiling pot or anything.”
I leapt out of my seat clapping. Two people screamed “Four thousand! Four thousand!” and the robes were deployed.
The evening adjourned.
*This story was originally posted to my old Tumblr account on March 30, 2017.