The National Arts Club Fourth Annual masked Red Ball last week honored stage, screen and concert legend Kitty Carlisle Hart. On hand to pay tribute in song were Tammy Grimes, Lee Roy Reams, K.T. Sullivan, Mary Bond Davis (Hairspray), Marni Nixon and cabaret artist Anna Bergman.

The indefatigable Miss Hart is 95 and a legendary star of operetta, stage and film ("A Night At the Opera") and a New York society doyenne. She's the widow of prodigious Broadway producer/director, playwright and best-selling author Moss Hart, who died in 1961.

Miss Hart chose not to perform live for her well-dressed, well-coiffed, well-heeled guests, (though it was noted that she would be singing live February 28-March 4, 2006, accompanied by David Lewis, at Feinstein's at the Regency). Howewver, via video and audio, her melody lingered on. In two rare bits, Miss Hart serenaded Mr. Hart on his 55th birthday and performed a long-lost specially written tune by tunesmiths Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz.

Tony and Academy Award winner Patricia Neal, Tony winner Marian Seldes, Anne Kaufman Schneider (daughter of playwright Kaufman) and Hart children Christopher and Cathy were among the speakers. David Lewis was music director. Actor/performance artist Joel Vig (Hairspray) was emcee.

NAC president O. Alden James Jr. and Visual Arts chair Dianne Bernhard accepted a Nicolosi portrait of Miss Hart for the club's lavish gallery. A portion of the proceeds was earmarked for the Hollywood Historic Trust, the first step in establishing a much-belated star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Mr. Hart. (Ms. Hart's star was installed in the 60s.)

Moss Hart was the Tony Award-winning producer/director of such blockbuster musicals as My Fair Lady and Camelot. With George S. Kaufman, he wrote the classics The Man Who Came To Dinner, Merrily We Roll Along, You Can't Take It With You (1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and Once In A Lifetime. He also wrote the book for Weill and Gershwin's Lady In the Dark (1941) and screenplays for "A Star Is Born" (1954), "Hans Christian Andersen" (1952) and "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947).

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Key Subjects: 
Kitty Carlisle Hart, Moss Hart, National Arts Club
Writer: 
Ellis Nassour
Writer Bio: 
Ellis Nassour contributes entertainment features here and abroad. He is the author of "Rock Opera: the Creation of <I>Jesus Christ Superstar</I>" and "Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline," and an associate editor and a contributing writer (film, music, theater) to Oxford University Press' American National Biography (1999).
Date: 
March 2006
Subtitle: 
Kitty Carlisle Hart on Hand as Moss Gets His Star