The Best Moments from Last Night's NYCDAF "Bright Lights Shining Stars" Gala
NYCDA executive director Joe Lanteri with dance legend Bebe Neuwirth on the red carpet (photo via @nycda on Instagram)
The annual New York City Dance Alliance Foundation fundraising gala, "Bright Lights Shining Stars," is usually a star-studded affair. But last night's 2017 event proved to be extra epic, thanks to tons of superb performances and appearances by some of Broadway's best—and most legendary—dancers.
The evening, held as a fundraiser for NYCDAF's college scholarship mission, honored the famed Broadway and Fosse icon Ann Reinking and her lifetime achievements. If you're not familiar, Reinking is a literal 👑 , who was known for her superb lines and luxuriously long legs. She had a long, illustrious career on the Great White Way dancing in productions like Pippin, Cabaret, Chicago, and Sweet Charity and scoring four Tony Award noms, including Best Choreography for a Musical for the Chicago revival she spearheaded and Best Director of a Musical for Fosse.
So, for Broadway nerds like us, the night was a whirlwind of classic Fosse goodness, once-in-a-lifetime performances, and pinch-me moments: Andy Blankenbuehler gave a few opening remarks, former Dance Spirit covergirl Eloise Kropp danced and sang, Chicago heavyweights Dylis Croman and Amra-Faye Wright performed Chicago's "Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag," Reinking's theater friends like Chita Rivera and Bebe Neuwirth gave sweet and emotional tributes, and dancers from the original production of Fosse reunited to perform the show's "I Wanna Be a Dancin' Man." And then, to top it all off, Reinking delivered a super moving, inspirational acceptance speech that reminded us why we love dance so much in the first place.
And, per usual, there were lots of good, old NYCDA moments on hand, as well, like a cool piece choreographed by Joey Dowling featuring every single dancer who was awarded a college scholarship from the foundation this year.