Washington is divided into two parts: those who did get tickets to "The Little Foxes" and those who did not. For all those who couldn't get their hands on the hottest tickets in town for the sold-out Kennedy Center run, or who didn't get enough after seeing it once, the Elizabeth Taylor Show went on the road yesterday. The famous star on stage and screen made a cameo appearance for the benefit of Wolf Trap, the national park for the performing arts.
But the main performance at the annual Wolf Trap Associates luncheon-lecture series was given by producer Zev Bufman, who entertained the crowd of 400 at the Four Seasons hotel with stories of Hollywood and a preview of the upcoming Wolf Trap opening gala on June 1. Bufman, as chairman of the gala this year, is planning with Mickey Rooney, Ann Miller, Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Henry Fonda and Chita Rivera, among others.
Taylor's "guest appearance" (as it was billed) consisted of 20 minutes of looking radiant in a red linen suit and black blouse. She went right to her seat, munched on the shrimp salad in avacado, and then dashed out. "They're taking photographs of the production this afternoon," she called out as she made a beeline for the door along with "Little Foxes" costars Maureen Stapleton and Novella Nelson.
Though Bufman was a drawing card, it was the opportunity of seeing Elizabeth Taylor that packed the ballroom at $35 a head. "There's just a fascination with her," said Gail Siegel, surveying the crowd during the cocktail hour. "The reservations chairman for the lunch had to leave home because her phone was ringing off the hook with people wanting to come."
"We're all so excited because she's the toast of the town now," said Carolyn Long, wife of Sen. Russell Long (D-La.), who said she had tickets for the play for next week. Long, chairman of the luncheon series, was scouting the crowd for other Senate wives, there to cheer one of their own. The list was long: Nancy Thurmond, B. A. Bentsen, Gretchen Byrd, Jody Dixon, Molly Boren among them. Other guests included Elizabeth Dole, assistant to the president, office of public liaison, and Elvera Burger, wife to Chief Justice Warren Burger.
Drifting through the cocktail conversation were rumors of Alejandro Orfila's possible appointment as secretary general of the United Nations. His wife, Helga, commented, "It's difficult to say, we haven't heard anything. But he's very realistic. If it would happen, great. I wouldn't mind moving to New York City." Has she seen "Little Foxes"? "No. But maybe in New York."
After the last of the luncheon's kiwi tarts had been cleared away, Catherine Jouett Shouse, founder of Wolf Trap, introduced Bufman, who is the producer of "Little Foxes" as well as hundreds of other plays, including "Brigadoon." It was at the opening night of "Brigadoon" at the National Theater last September that Shouse introduced Bufman and Taylor.
"Mrs. Shouse told me that she had invited a third person to come with us to the "Brigadoon' opening," said Bufman. "She said it was a senator's wife whose husband was working late. I sat on the aisle, a nervous wreck at the opening, as usual, and I left the second seat open. As the overture began, I heard a clackety-clack of footsteps down the aisle, and then a hand was shoving me to move over. Fifteen minutes later when I calmed down, I looked over and there was Liz Taylor."
The rest is history.