The event: On the London street at Universal City -- between the Strand Hotel, Mulligan’s Tavern and an iconic red phone booth -- servers passed pizza and spring rolls as actors from “Glee,” “Scandal,” “The Fosters” and other popular TV shows mixed with supporters of the Family Equality Council. All then adjourned to the Globe Theatre for the main event: the organization’s annual Los Angeles Awards Dinner on Saturday.
The show: The “Glee” gang chose songs for the occasion, beginning with Darren Criss on the guitar for “Somewhere That’s Green.” New cast member Adam Lambert chose “Mad World,” and Amber Riley delivered a heartfelt “Who You Are.” Composer and pianist Brad Ellis accompanied the latter two performers, as he quietly does on the show. Alex Newell, who plays Unique, pitched in, too, helping Criss auction off a private tour of the set.
“Parents, ask yourselves, what is it worth to you to be considered the best parent in the world?” said Criss, before securing two winning families at $9,000 each.
Actor and comedian Alec Mapa acted as host with participation from event co-chairs Dan Bucatinsky of “Scandal," photographer David Miller and HBO Executive Vice President Casey Bloys. “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy and actresses Busy Philipps of “Cougar Town” and Amanda Bearse of “Married with Children” also helped out.
In a surprise ending, rocker Melissa Etheridge – not previously scheduled to perform – talked about raising her four children in a same-sex household before singing her composition “Uprising of Love.”
The crowd: FOX TV chair Dana Walden; Tim Allen of “Last Man Standing”; Tony Goldwyn, Scott Foley and Jeff Perry of “Scandal”; Maia Mitchell, David Lambert, Cierra Ramirez, Jake T. Austin, Danny Nucci and Hayden Byerly of “The Fosters”; Pauley Perrette of “NCIS”; George Takei of the original “Star Trek”; Laura Prepon of “Orange is the New Black”; Aisha Tyler of “The Talk”; Dale Dickey of “Iron Man 3”; Kathleen Robertson of “Boss”; and “Real Housewives” Heather Dubrow, Tamra Barney, Carlton Gebbia, Joyce Giraud and Yolanda Foster.
Quote of note: Mapa called a picture of his family, shown on one of the big screens, “Vladimir Putin’s worst nightmare,” before addressing discrimination in this country.
“I don’t know about you,” Mapa said, “but whenever I hear that religious people are coming for me and my family, the one thing I can think is: Shouldn’t you be reading to the blind? Aren’t there homeless people in your area who could benefit from a kind word or a hot meal? Could there possibly be a better use of your time and resources than going after the life and liberty of people you’ll never meet, whose lives and freedom will never affect you in any other way?”
The awards: Honoring notables in the arts, entertainment, politics and the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender movement, the council gave awards to Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg, who are the creators of ABC Family’s “The Fosters,” and to LBGT advocate Jennifer Tyrrell.
The numbers: By night’s end, the council raised $571,000 from 500 tickets priced from $500 on up, plus sponsorships, the auction and additional donations.
Ellen Olivier is founder of Society News LA.