ARCHIVE: Baldwin, Hot for the Holidays

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The Junior League of Monmouth County caps a weekend of special activities in Red Bank with an appearance by Alec Baldwin, who faces the audience at Two River Theater on Saturday. (Photo by Robert Ascroft)

(First published on Red Bank oRBit November 18, 2009)

“A class act,” says Linda Bricker when talking about Alec Baldwin. “A generous guy.”

But then, that smooth star of stage and screen (big) and screen (small) is guaranteed to elicit a reaction in most anyone you meet. We like him as the sort of actor who can steal a picture right out from under the top-billed stars just by putting in a day’s work or two — think of those seven minutes’ worth of seismic sales peptalk in Glengarry Glen Ross, or his fine supporting turns in Married to the MobBeetlejuice, Fun with Dick and JaneThe Departed and his Oscar-nodded gig on The Cooler.

His peers in the industry apparently think highly enough of Alec Baldwin to have made him a serial nominee for all the major honors, and — in the case of his satisfying stint as Jack in 30 Rock — a winner of a SAG award, a Golden Globe and two Emmys as best lead actor in a comedy. Plus, as has been recently announced, the producers of the next Academy Awards extravaganza thought of him in the same breath as Steve Martin when filling their host slot for 2010.

Ask the shlub on the street about Baldwin Brother Number One and you’re sure to get a gamut of reactions that range from fanclub fawning to a punch in the neck — as we’ve said elsewhere with our trademark alliterative elan, he’s a public figure who’s “known as much for polarizing politics, paternal peccadillos and personal-life pugnacity as for his powerhouse performances.”

No matter what you think of him, one thing that Alec Baldwin is not is a dull interview. A figure of strong opinions, rare candor and unfiltered access in a profession that’s too often mired in micro-management, the star is regarded as an A-list “get” by talk show producers and pundits. So it makes sense that when Baldwin comes to Red Bank’s Two River Theater for a fundraiser event this Saturday evening, he’ll be taking the stage not as a song-and-dance man, but playing to his strengths as a Jedi master of the Q and the A.

Entitled An Evening with Alec Baldwin and slated for 7pm, it’s a benefit for the nonprofit Junior League of Monmouth County — a Rumson-based organization of which Linda Bricker is president emeritus — and it’s being pitched as a relaxed forum in which the the celebrity guest “will answer questions and informally talk about his career.”

According to Bricker, who’s also serving as the event chair for the occasion, “I know Alec through mutual friends and approached him, wearing my Junior League of Monmouth County presidential cap, almost a year ago about the prospect of coming down to Monmouth County for an event with the JLMC.”

“He was politely receptive and, to his extreme credit, never wavered from his commitment, even after going on to garner a SAG award, a Golden Globe, and an Emmy in the interim!”

As Bricker continues, the star maintained contact over the course of a busy year, and “when I explained to Alec that the Junior League is an organization devoted to training women to be effective volunteer leaders, and to making permanent positive change in the lives of families in our community, he seemed to value and appreciate that.”

The JLMC has just made available a limited-quantity block of $50 tickets to this event in an effort to “give a broader base of people a chance to attend what you know will be a fun evening.” Other tickets for An Evening with Alec Baldwin range from $100 general admission, and from $250 to $500 for preferred seating and a pre-show, meet-and-greet reception with the star at 5:30pm. Reserve with the Two River box office right here.

“’Tis a busy time of the year out there, but this is something very unique to this area,” says Bricker. “And Alec Baldwin could not be hotter right now!”

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