Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
"Yahoo," said Sen. Hubert Humphrey, clapping his hands with delight. "That's good. It sure beat Congress, doesn't it?"
"It sure does," said his neighbor across the aisle, Speaker of the House Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill. "We could use a little of that on the Hill on Tuesday mornings."
Well, if the gentlemen ask again, maybe the cast members of "All Night Strut" and "Your Arms Too Short to Box With God" who appeared in the excerpts of their shows offered at Monday night's "Capital Evening" gala hosted by Rep. and Mrs. O'Neill at Ford's Theater will make a special trip to the Capitol.
It would be perhaps the most effective way to draw attention to the Ford's funding needs for future programs - which was what Monday night's event was all about.
"This is what might he called a backer's audition," said Ford's Theater executive producer Frankie Hewitt when she introduced the third part of the evening's entertainment, an as yet untitled Civil War musical scheduled for next season. Since her audience, which included not only members of Congress but representatives of some of the nation's largest corporations, responded enthusiastically to the presentation that appeared to be a wise strategy indeed.
Later, at a post-show dinner for the Ford's Theater Board of Governors, attended by representatives of General Motors, IBM, Atlantic-Richfield, Rockwell Industries and others from the Fortune 500, the business executives and their wives crowded around singer-actor Bill Shustick, star of the upcoming production. "I've already been approached by a couple of people with promises to help this show," said Hewitt.
The Civil War theme seemed in keeping with the spirit of the evening, what with several Carter Administration officials, including foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, making their first appearance at Ford's since the new administration came to power. When Shustick sang a line about "all you rebels give a little yell and send those yankees all to hell," one unidentified and obviously unreconstructed soul let loose with a fullscale war whoop.
As for Brzezinski, he may not have been able to pay as much attention to the razzle-dazzle singing and dancing taking place on stage as he wanted: The Iranian ambassador, Ardeshir Zahedi, sat down in the empty seat beside Brzezinski and began to bend his ear.
"Yes," said Brzezinski during the intermission, "he wanted to conduct business."