The opening of "Brigadoon" without Agnes de Mille? The Agnes de Mille? The modern dance legend in her own modern time? Of course not.
"My God, I was dying to see it," she said, sitting in her near front row seat, swathed in low-cut pink chiffon, sparkles of jewelry around her neck, white hair swept back in a bun. All at 72 years old.
"You're asking a mother why she was present at the birth of her chld," she declared calmly as a little gaping gaggle of admirers gathered at her feet minutes after the curtain came down at the National Theater last night on "Brigadoon," the play that she choreographed in 1947. "I haven't seen it in 10 days. It's my show."
So she flew in from her upstate New York home, and last night all the big-wigs who came to witness the opening of the National's fall season all came up to embrace Agnes de Mille, who was never caught at a loss for words.
"Oh, Miss Taylor, we've never met," she said, reaching up to greet Elizabeth Taylor Warner. "But I once stayed in your house in Puerto Vallarta."
Meanwhile John Curry, the iceskater-cum-dancer, flushed and smiling, squeezed his way into the opening party on the crowded mezzanine level of the National amid much adoration. Elizabeth Taylor -- minus her husband, Sen. John Warner, who's out campaigning in the Virginia coal coal country -- was greeted by Curry with a kiss on each check. She reciprocated with a warm smile, running her hand up and down his skinny knit tie to smooth it out.
"I came to the party because I knew she'd be here," said Curry of Elizabeth Taylor. "It was the high point of my evening. I've always wanted to meet her."
Around De Mille gathered an instant subparty. For Kay Shouse, donor of Wolf Trap -- which co-produced this show -- and a doyenne in her own right, there was an embrace and pat on the back that made the two women look like chummy backroom power brokers. "I have to see the cast." The cast was summoned.
"I love you," gushed one awed member of the audience, a dancer, who came bearing three roses and paper for her to autograph. De Mille looked up wordlessly, then slowly wrote her name on the paper.
"I thought Marina did that funeral dance so perfectly," she said, referring to dancer Marina Eglevsky, punctuating the air with two fingers pressed to thumb. She also loved John Curry -- who hung up his ice skates to dance and act the darkly intense character of Harry Beaton. But she didn't love the way they cut parts of the dancing out last night. "We'll make them put it back," De Mille said calmly.
"We're going to have a talk in the morning," said producer Zev Bufman back at the party. "Agnes always has something to say in the morning. I know -- I'm a veteran of 'Oklahoma' [another De Mille-choreographed musical]."
"Oh, but she probably won't have many notes," said Maurice Tobin, head of the board of the National.
"Oh, yes, she will," said Bufman cheerfully. "Agnes wouldn't be Agnes if she didn't."