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Fashion and Broadway don’t collide on an everyday basis. On Tuesday night, however, they did, and impressively so, when Narciso Rodriguez, Andrew Rosen, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, Derek Lam, Prabal Gurung and Joseph Altuzarra were among those who turned out to the John Golden Theatre for a preview performance of “Mothers and Sons,” Terrence McNally’s new play. The reason for such a stylish audience: Ed Filipowski and Mark Lee. The couple (one half, KCD president, the other, Barneys New York chief) is coproducing the play alongside lead producer Thomas Kirdahy, McNally’s husband.
“Separate from fashion, we have passion for the theater,” said Lee who, with Dorothy Berwin, launched the Berwin Lee Playwrights Award last year. Lee and Filipowski saw the play, which stars Tyne Daly, Frederick Weller and Bobby Steggert, at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pa., last summer and were immediately inspired to get involved.
“This industry and Mark and I lived through the terrible fear and loss of AIDS in the Eighties,” Filipowski said. “The lessons of that time expressed by Terrence in the play are important ones for us to remember and the younger generation of fashion to know and carry on, and not to forget as they take on the responsibility of redefining family relationships and the unconditional love and acceptance that was largely absent in those early years. We can’t forget what we learned and that’s why we had to be involved.”
Serving as producers involves a financial investment as well as input into marketing and promotional decisions — all of which the duo is well-versed in.
“They are both so smart, they have such great taste, they are so passionate, they are inveterate theatergoers, so working with them is a dream,” Kirdahy said.
Tuesday’s invite was on behalf of Fashion Centered at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City. The play, when it officially premieres Monday, will make Broadway history. The play’s plot features the first legally married gay couple on an American stage. Fittingly the performance was followed by a talk with McNally and Defense of Marriage Act plaintiff Edie Windsor, and moderated by litigator Roberta Kaplan. “When I first came to New York, I didn’t know any lesbians,” McNally grinned. “I didn’t want to know any lesbians. I thought they were humorless.”
Guido Palau, Dennis Freedman, Daniella Vitale, and Kering’s Laurent Claquin and Julie Mannion were also in the crowd.
Anna Sui recently stepped up her efforts to take in more shows, and just saw “Pippin” and “What’s It All About?” As she put it, “There is just so much in New York, and if you don’t take advantage, you really miss out.”