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Gothic Elegance for Rings Premiere

December 10, 2002, 12:00 AM EST

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers premiere after-party New York Public Library Thursday, 12.05.02, 10 PM onward
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Middle-earth and Midtown collided for the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers premiere party at the New York Public Library. Fantastical and regal elements combined for the event, which used lots of props imported from the film's set in New Zealand as decor. Clare Anne Darragh, senior vice president of national publicity for New Line Cinema, and Maria Ruiz of MAR Events oversaw the event's production.

Mia Grau of Mia Grau Productions worked with costume and set designers from the film to develop to event's look. Tall medieval flags flanked the revolving door entrance to Astor Hall, where a giant statue of Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandolf on a white horse stood in the center of the room surrounded by two tall displays of lush pink peonies donated by the New Zealand Peony Society. Grau cast 25 male and female actors who were 5-foot-10-inches to six feet tall with long hair to dress in silvery elf costumes and move throughout the event looking elfish and adding to the room's ethereal atmosphere. (Tolkien's elves are tall; the hobbits are the short ones.)

Lighting designers projected a gobo of the inscription on a ring from the film onto the ceiling. Textured lavender and blue lights shone on the marble columns, giving the room a cool, enchanted castle look. In contrast, fiery red lights filled the second floor, where lots of lounge furniture and cocktail tables covered with red linens dotted the edges of the hallways.

Red satin tablecloths covered the buffet tables, and flags, helmets, suits of armor and tapestries decorated the carving stations on the first floor. Caterer Sonnier & Castle even gave the serving trays a Middle Earth look with clumps of moss dotted with white mushrooms, slate-colored trays filled with pebbles and wildflowers and bronze trays covered with a layer of cranberries beneath the hors d'oeuvres. The buffets offered hearty fare such as roast beef, shepherd's pie, smoked salon and grilled sausages, but no mutton.

Suzanne Ito

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