Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty

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Photos by Barry Gordin

Genius was honored and a great legend was remembered at the 3rd Annual Stella by Starlight gala benefiting the world famous Stella Adler Studio of Acting. It was an extraordinary triumvirate of American talent celebrated that evening and also marked the passing of the torch from Marlon Brando, the late honorary chairman of the fabled studio, to fellow Studio alumni, Warren Beatty and the continuation of the Adler family and Group Theatre legacy.

Although the ballroom was filled to overflow with the leading lights in theater, film and literature, it was the spirit of Brando, Adler, and Clurman that infused the evening's proceedings. Ellen Adler, Stella's daughter, and Tom Oppenheim, president and artistic director of the Studio spoke affectionately, but powerfully about the influence the Adler family and The Group Theater had on the arts, past and present. They also paid a warm and emotional tribute to Brando, beloved pupil of Stella and major influence on her children and grandchildren, an endearing relationship with Ellen and a paternal figure to Tom, Stella's grandson.

Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner was honored with the Jacob Adler Award for courageous contribution to Jewish and American culture presented by Mike Nichols.

The legendary Arthur Miller was given the Group Theater Award for prolific achievement in theater, television and film and commitment to social justice. Unable to attend due to illness, Miller was well represented by his daughter director/writer Rebecca Miller Day Lewis.

The late Marlon Brando, surely one of Stella's most gifted pupils, was posthumously honored with the award named for his late teacher and mentor Stella Adler. Warren Beatty, who has succeeded Brando as honorary chairman of The Studio, accepted the award on his behalf and immediately presented it to Marlon's son, Miko Brando.

Highlights of the evening included: Whoopi Goldberg's delightful, almost star struck reminiscences of her first encounters with Brando; a sizzling musical tribute to John Kander and Fred Ebb, directed by Gordon Hunt and Scheider with show stopping performances by Melissa Errico, Brent Barrett and Marin Mazzie; a hilarious comedy sketch by recent Studio grads Casey Wilson and June Raphael; and a video tribute focusing on a very young Marlon Brando at the outset of his career. The brilliant pianist/songwriter, David Raleigh, entertained for cocktails and during dinner.

On hand to applaud the honorees and celebrate the Adler family legacy were Lauren Bacall, Betty Comden, Bud Schulberg, Joe and Elisa Stein, Tony Danza, Ron Howard with his daughter Bryce Dallas Howard (an alumni of the Stella Adler Studio), Elizabeth Ashley, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jessica Lange, Lois Smith, Ron Burrus, Bebe Beuell, Gail Furman, Donna & Dick Soloway, Mary Rodgers and Henry Guettel, Barbara Hearst, Annette Insdorf, Deborah Kampmeier, Howard Kanowitz, Pamela Newman, Rita Fredricks Salzman, Rick McKay, Jamie DeRoy, Lisa Vioni and Ivan Wilzig.

Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty
Ron Howard and Tony Kushner

Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty
Co-Chaiman Roy Scheider, wife Brenda and Warren

Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty
Ellen Adler and Warren

Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty
Karen Brando, Lauren Bacall and Miko Brando

Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty
Karen and Miko Brando, Ed Callaghan and John Wegorzewski

Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty
Mike Nichols, Lauren Bacall and Ellen Adler

Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty
Jessica Lange

Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty
Melissa Errico, Brent Barrett and Marin Mazzie

Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty
Warren with Lucky

Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty
Donna and Richard Soloway

Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty
Ellen Adler and Brando's niece, Kitty Loving

Photo Coverage: Stella Adler Gala/Passing of the Torch - Brando to Beatty
AlBert Maysels and Warren

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