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Poolside Parties and Upper East Side Fetes

Originally Posted: September 14, 2007

Edward Callaghan

Mary Skillern, Caroline Lieberman, Barbara Bennett, Mary Ellen Winston, and Kay Arnold at the party at the Skillern Residence. Photo by John Wegorzewski

Thank God not everyone was listening to those folks who would end summer, rush us headlong into Halloween with a short stop at Thanksgiving and smack into Christmas. Judy and Michael McDowell just threw the most fun poolside party this weekend for 200 of their nearest and dearest. Judy, just off two weeks of hosting VIP guests of Manhattan Mortgage at the Hampton Classic, and her husband Michael, one of the East End's most talented artists, always bring together the most eclectic blend of art and commerce and this bash put a lie to the old myth that the Hamptons are closed down post-Labor Day. (Something we know covering all the Hamptons, all the time!).

With two of the East End's most wonderful musicians on hand, Ernst Lurker and William Falkenberg alternating on the McDowell's spanking new piano, the music never stopped and the dance floor never emptied be it Cole Porter or Harry Connick Jr. The less energetic filled the tables around the pool and on the lawn to dine on a sumptuous feast of honey baked ham, Southwestern corn on the cob, and a massive array of farmstand fresh veggies. The whole spread was prepared by Judy who is not only a real estate whiz but a wizard in the kitchen!

Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, Mary and Frank Skillern, Harriet and Richard D'Amato, Linda and Ed Barone, Kristen Vigard and adorable daughter Emily (Kristen was first "Annie" and also played the part of "Shelley" in HAIR), Cindy Braff, Michael Gluckman of Bamboo and The Lodge, art dealer Arlene Bujesne and Marcel, Sue Calden who makes the special events at Wolffer Estates so very special, author Mary Ellen Winston, Barbara Hair, Bobby Schreiber, Eddie and Ellie Ashe, Jennifer McDowell, Albert Fierro, Tracy Harris, artists Michael Knigin, Haim Mizrahi and Cal Thompson, Dana Dolan, Lindsey Kane and former ABC music producer Eileen Casey were among the fascinating crowd that partied til the wee hours. In fact, the McDowells, always the most generous of hosts, made sure that any one who wanted to party and take a midnight swim was welcome to spend the night. Now that's what we call smart hosts!

Back in The Big Apple, Mary and Frank Skillern opened up their elegant East Side townhouse for a another wonderfully intimate evening of dinner followed by a performance by musical star K.T. Sullivan in the Skillern's first floor cabaret. This musical evening was the 70th the Skillerns have hosted featuring the greatest talents in cabaret and musical theater. The beautifully designed performance space complete with stage, theatrical lighting and sleek Steinway is a performer's dream.

After the buffet dinner and cocktails on the main floor, some seventy guests moved downstairs to take their places. Sullivan, one of the young living legends on the cabaret scene, immediately launched into a roof raising rendition of "There's No Business Like Show Business" that would have made Ethel Merman proud. Accompanied by Ted Furth at the piano and Steve Doyle on bass, K.T. treated the audience to a brilliant selection of classics and new tune that drove the crowd wild.

The Skillerns musical theater loving pals most from the East End applauding K.T included Barbara Bennett, Caroline Lieberman, Mary Ellen Winston, Don Rebic, Randie Levine Miller, Eric Rudy, Elaine Sargent, Kay Arnold, fellow musical theater star Anna Bergman and K.T.'s husband Stephen Downey.

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