All About Eve…


With producer Isaac Hurwitz

A bunch of my friends and I flew from NYC to London for the West End premiere (premiere party included) of All About Eve starring Gillian Anderson and Lily James (in an avant-garde production) to support and celebrate with my friend who helped produce it (and who produced a number of my plays in New York–starring John Krasinski, of course).


Arriving to the premiere (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Excitement was in the air when we got to the theatre (after libations at the Savoy), where the press was photographing celebrities as they arrived. We had to push through the throng, as many Londoners came just to marvel at the stars entering the theatre.


Premiere night (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Since we arrived right before showtime, we were a bit hurried in getting to our seats, but all the rushing helped add to the excitement. A few friends tried to grab a pre-show drink in the stalls, but were turned back since the show was about to begin.


Show time (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

As we took our seats at the star-studded premiere, we saw Dr. Who, members of the X Files cast, Sex Education actors, Downton Abby regulars, and apparently Twiggy was there too. Gillian Anderson and Lily James both performed well, and their performances were rewarded with a standing ovation. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the Yale line in the play that’s also in the movie: “I have not come to New Haven to see the play, discuss your dreams, or pull the ivy from the walls of Yale. I have come here to tell you that you will not marry Lloyd.”


With producer Isaac Hurwitz (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Afterwards, we spilled out onto the sidewalk to make our way to the premiere party–and check our coats before a long line formed. We walked over to the Waldorf Hilton, comparing notes on our experiences of the play and the performances (all positive).


Party time (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

When we arrived at the Waldorf, the party was just getting started. We claimed a prime table with a view so we could put down our bags, grab a seat when we needed it, and people watch while snacking on hors d’oeuvres as they passed by.


Time to party (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

The dress that I wore I bought in Mongolia from a store in Ulaanbaatar that only sells designs by up and coming Mongolian designers (I was living in Mongolia while an American Center for Mongolian Studies Fellow–intensively studying the Mongolian language and conducting my research project on religion). The coat I wore I had bought in the Islamic Republic of Iran in Esfahan while a guest speaker in the country for Harvard University. I got my moonboots in the Milford Mall in Connecticut–a shiny and fun find.


Ready to party (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

After settling into the scene, I decided to go check out the other room, weaving through the crowd of theatre types, on the look-out for familiar faces. As I surfed through the dance floor, I picked up hors d’oeuvres along the way, since we hadn’t eaten before the show.


Let’s go in (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

The DJ was jamming, and didn’t seem to mind me taking a few photos–she was absorbed in setting the mood. I was drawn to the solitary quality of the DJ–all these bodies on one side of the dance floor, and then the lone figure curating and conducting it all, without taking any credit or drawing attention to herself.


DJ at work (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I’m picky with my interior decorating taste, but I did like the hot pink light scheme and chandeliers. Eventually, the mob was just too much for me–and my friends–so we retreated to our table and found out how the photo call was going with the stars and producers.


Partying hard on premiere night (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

It was a bit surreal when Lily James exited the photo call and was standing right next to us just as I was looking down at the program with her face peeking out from behind Gillian Anderson. The photo call had wrapped, so the whole cast of All About Eve began spilling out right around our table.


Post-show celebration (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I’m not easily impressed in the acting department, but I had been impressed with Lily James’ portrayal of Cousin Rose in Downton Abbey ever since her first scene on the show. It was sweet to see her being embraced by her friends after opening night; we could feel their support and their shared joy in her success.


Actress Lily James (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Then Prince Philip suddenly appeared–not the real prince, of course, but the actor who plays him on Downton Abbey (Matt Smith). He hung back humbly and let his sweetheart enjoy her moment, before taking her hand in his and showing his support and love.


Cousin Rose and Prince Philip (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Then Gillian Anderson came out from the photo call and sat down at the table next to us, being embraced in many hugs and showered with congratulations. You can see Gillian behind me as I was eating butternut squash ravioli–a winning combination. Later in the evening, I had the chance to compliment Lily James on her performance–she was perfectly lovely and gracious. We also got to do a photo call which was great fun and then continued to party the night away. So much in fact that I overslept and only made it to the airport in time because the hotel concierge called to ask if I was going to check-out! I threw my things in my suitcase and bolted to Heathrow. Life as a jet set rockstar is not for the faint of heart.


Gillian Anderson is behind me (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

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