Hosted by Broadway notable, Ben Vereen, the 28th annual Fred and Adele Astaire Awards held at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College honored Kenny Ortega with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his unparalleled work throughout the decades. Teary-eyed tributes to the late Michael Jackson, jaw dropping dance numbers executed flawlessly by performers of a truly impressive range of ages, and a warm sense of camaraderie between the nominees characterized the night.
The respect and admiration that every individual had for Kenny Ortega as he received his Lifetime Achievement Award was palpable, a video tribute chronicling his work, and a quick shout out from the unfortunately absent Hugh Jackman delivered via giant projection screen capped of the night on a touching and inspiring note that left all in attendance ready to take full advantage of the after party.
Of course, where there's a red carpet Lucky and Wendy Diamond won't be far behind. And as an avid dancer and a huge fan of "Dancing With the Stars" Lucky was particularly excited to see who would get lucky at the Astaire Awards. With the rising popularity of the World Canine Freestyle Organization (WCFO), a group dedicated to enforcing the bond between pets and their parents through dance, Lucky and Wendy thought that the Astaire awards would be the perfect venue in which to test celebrity aptitude for doggie dancing. Luckily, the stars delivered in spades, and lucky got to salsa, mambo, and waltz her way past the paparazzi.
The first starlet to stroll past the eager photogs was none other than the legendary Roberta Flack. Accompanied by her daughter, Flack revealed herself to be a truly compassionate soul with a special soft spot for the four-legged set confessing, "I do a lot with rescue centers I'm involved with best friends sanctuary - anytime there's an animal or a needy child or needy person...I try to do everything that I can." Lucky was sure to get her photo taken with the Roberta Flack, who couldn't get enough Maltese magic. Flack is slated to appear in a Public Service Announcement for the ASPCA in the coming month.
Lucky's tail really got wagging when she saw "Dancing With the Stars" fan favorite, Cheryl Burke saunter down the carpet with fellow dancer, Maksim Chmerkovskiy. When asked what her rescued pup, cotton's, favorite dance would be, Burke eagerly replied, "A salsa! Something fast, my dog's very fast on her
feet!" This made Lucky's ears perk straight up and she couldn't be calmed until Cheryl agreed to demonstrate her championship-worthy moves with Lucky. It was a salsa for the ages that had lucky seeing stars, and not just the ones on the red carpet! The stoic Chmerkovskiy on the other hand, doting owner of a lazy bulldog, admits, "I don't know something...something slow. His [the bulldog's] name is Sleep. He likes to chill and lay out." As much as Lucky likes to lounge her paws were ready to patter, and she continued to make her way down the carpet.
Tony nominated actor Bob Balaban was next to get some face time with Lucky. Aside from his acting credentials, Balaban is also the author of a series of children's books featuring a bionic dog, named McGrowl, with a film version in the works! And although Lucky isn't quite what Bob was looking for to play McGrowl, a golden retriever, in the upcoming film she did convince him to strike a pose, adding him to her ever-expanding contact list.
Broadway sensation, Carol Lawrence, was a sequined spectacle that lit up the runway with her dazzling outfit and larger than life persona. The proud owner of five fabulous felines readily describes herself as a crazy cat lady, "I inherited three from my son, and I have two that were born on Broadway. Their mother was killed by a taxicab driver,
and I found these two wonderful little things whimpering. They're called Mack the Black and Papillion, and I love them dearly." When discussing the best way to deal with the inevitable litter box business, Lawrence offers that ideally, "A man would come and clean it!" she laughs, "I think that's best." Lawrence takes an immediate liking (How could she not?) to Lucky and the two samba off into the crowd as Lawrence proclaims through thick laughter that she will be keeping Lucky for herself!
When Lucky returned she found herself face-to-face with the Star of the night, the remarkably accomplished Kenny Ortega. Both Lucky and her mom, Wendy Diamond, were so excited it was impossible to tell whose tail was wagging faster! Ortega, pet parent to a fourteen-year-old Shar-Pei Lab named Tibby after his father, and two Yorkies, four-year-old Manly and two-year-old Sally, enthusiastically reveals his dogs to be as big of music lovers as their dad. "Oh, they love music!" Ortega muses, "I dance with manly all the time. He likes to dance the most of all of them. He likes hip-hop. He generally likes anything if he's in my arms and we're moving around. He likes a little salsa rhythm and maybe a Broadway show tune. Tibby's a little big, he's a little heavy to pick up, and a little old but he likes music." Of Course Lucky couldn't pass up the opportunity to be photographed with the recipient of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, and Wendy couldn't resist asking dating advice from the suave Kenny Ortega who laughing, said, "You're asking the wrong person about that! But I don't stress about it."
Lucky had a fabulous time at the Astaire awards, and she even picked up a few moves along the way! And now that "Dancing With the Stars" has completed its run it may just be time to bring some famous footwork to the WCFO ushering in a new era of toe tapping entertainment. If Lucky's experiences at the 28th annual Fred and Adele Astaire awards is any indication of things to come, the inevitable "Dancing with the Dogs" cannot be too far off, and you can bet that Wendy and Lucky will be first in line!
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