Eric Holder, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Nancy Pelosi and Julie Andrews at Ford's gala. (Reflections Photography/Courtesy of Ford's Theatre)

There’s a reason gala hosts give awards to big stars: They show up.

Julie Andrews and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were honored at the Ford’s Theatre annual fete Sunday night — the chanteuse, 75, for her work in children’s arts and literature, the retired NBA superstar, 64, for his second career as a best-selling history author. A little random, sure — neither has a particular tie to the historic theater. But hey: Kind of fun to hang out with Julie Andrews and Kareem ­Abdul-Jabbar, right? The theater’s donors seemed to enjoy it. And the stars enjoyed flacking their causes.

“I had one of the loveliest days I’d had in a long time,” Andrews told theater supporters at a lunch Monday hosted by Ford’s chairman, Wayne Reynolds. “I begged, urged, pleaded all the congressmen and senators and very important people that were in the audience to please continue helping to fund programs for children concerning the arts.”

The VIPs at Sunday’s gala included Joe Biden, Eric Holder, Nancy Pelosi, a cast of actors and singers, and hundreds of well-heeled supporters. Andrews was mobbed at both the lunch and post-gala dinner, spending much of her time posing for pictures with fans. Abdul-Jabbar happily spent time with the lunch crowd but left Sunday’s dinner early to watch Game 3 of the NBA finals at P.J. Clarke’s restaurant.