May 26, 2007

LuPone Sings as Queen Mary 2 Gala Raises $540,000 for NYC Arts

This was on

"May 25 (Bloomberg) -- Cunard Line showed off its extravagant Queen Mary 2 last night as host of a benefit aboard the cruise liner that raised $540,000 for New York City Opera and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

With the ship docked in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, guests drank cocktails on the deck with expansive views of Manhattan. Patti LuPone sang torch songs in the ship's theater, couples danced in the ballroom to the Peter Duchin Orchestra and 750 people ate dinner in the massive Britannia Restaurant.

Cunard, owned by Carnival Corp., was promoting the 1,132- foot liner's new home at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, its new U.S. base for regular transatlantic crossings.
``This is a big deal for us,'' Cunard President Carol Marlow said in an interview. ``We rarely have events like this.''

Marlow said the Queen Mary 2 can be rented as a private charter. The price depends on the ship's destination, she said, declining to give specific numbers.
CIT, a New York-based commercial and consumer finance company, sponsored the gala. CIT also sponsors City Opera's ``Opera-for-All,'' which offers discounted tickets for $25.
Security was tight, with guests required to show identification and pass through metal detectors and two other security checkpoints as they made their way through the terminal to the ship. As each guest entered the Queen Mary 2, a long line of uniformed servers on either side said ``good evening'' in unison.

LuPone Sings
On the boat, guests were joined by celebrities such as the actress Cynthia Nixon from ``Sex and the City'' and Jill Hennessy, star of the television drama ``Crossing Jordan.''
LuPone sang songs from her album ``The Lady With the Torch'' for a front-row audience that included Jane M. Gullong, executive director of City Opera, BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

``We're coming together on an exceptional ship to support two cultural institutions,'' Joseph V. Melillo, executive producer at BAM, said during the cocktail hour. ``We're blessed here in Brooklyn.''

The Queen Mary 2 departs Brooklyn today for a four-day cruise to the Bahamas.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Romano in New York at

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