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Toast To Pulitzer Prize Winning Author William Kennedy In NYC

Originally Posted: October 11, 2011

Edward Callaghan
John Wegorzewski

Barbara Ligeti, Christine DeLisle, Dolores Barclay and Angelica Page enjoyed the scene. (Ann Watt)

Author William Kennedy. (Ann Watt)

New York City - Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist William Kennedy was the guest of honor at a special toast at popular Theater District eatery, Trattoria Dopo Teatro. Longtime friend, noted film and theater producer Barbara Ligeti, along with Trattoria Dopo Teatro owners architect Emilio Barletta and Giuseppe Manica hosted the reception to salute the author on the release of his eagerly anticipated new novel, "Chango's Beads and Two Toned Shoes."

Kennedy received the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for "Ironweed" - the third book in Kennedy's acclaimed "Albany Cycle," which features the interaction of members of the fictional Irish-American Phelan family, and makes use of incidents of Albany's history and the supernatural. Kennedy's works include "The Ink Truck" (1969), "Legs" (1975), "Billy Phelan's Greatest Game" (1978), "Ironweed" (1983, winner of 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; film, 1987), and "Roscoe" (2002) and now "Chango's Beads and Two Toned Shoes." 'Chango's Beads' was featured last week on the cover of the New York Times Book review with a glowing review by John Sayles.

"Ironweed" placed at number 92 on the Modern Library list of the 100 Best Novels written in English in the 20th Century. Kennedy has written numerous short stories, children's books and screenplays including "The Cotton Club," with Francis Ford Coppola and "Ironweed" which starred Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Carroll Baker,
Michael O'Keefe and Nathan Lane and was directed by Hector Babenco.

William Kennedy's new novel "Chango's Beads and Two Toned Shoes." (Ann Watt)

Though the setting for the party was quintessentially Italian, it wouldn't be a gathering of the clan without a couple of Irish songs. Legendary actor, writer and raconteur Malcahy McCourt and his wife Diana were all too happy to oblige and led the group in a sing-a-long.

Among those on hand feasting on the restaurant's justly praised Italian delicacies were actress and director Angelica Page; author and journalist Dolores Barclay; producers Christine De Lisle, Jann Cobler, Barbara Bartos and Scott Perrin; agent Geri Charles; novelist Lynne Tillman, author and screenplay writer Jake Brackman, designer Berry Brown, Jeremiah James, just back from a critically acclaimed run on the West End as Billy Bigelow in "Carousel" at London's Savoy Theater and soon to be seen in the AMAS production of "The Countess of Storyville;" New York Times best selling author Eliza Griswold; philanthropist Jean Shafiroff and the Kennedy Clan - his wife former Joffrey Ballet dancer and Broadway performer Dana Kennedy, son Brendan Kennedy and daughter Dana Nelson.

Co-host Giuseppe Manica, Dana and William Kennedy and Barbara Ligeti. (Ann Watt)

Later when introduced to actor-singer James, Kennedy said, "Well, sing me a song." A little abashed, James said "How about something Gershwin?" to which Kennedy nodded assent. James began the lovely "You Can't Take That Away From Me" and within seconds Kennedy was harmonizing beautifully with the young powerhouse vocalist!


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