With Mikhail Baryshnikov as the big-name star, this would have been the biggest party in town last night… but for the little political soiree going on at the Bobbi Brown/Steve Plofker residence.

Oh well. The gala opening of Montclair State’s new $26 million Alexander Kasser Theater, a posh 499-seat venue, with a grand entrance and some red-carpeted Kennedy Center touches, was fun too. Although Mr. Baristakov, oops Baryshnikov, was insistent on not having his picture taken by the local paparazzi, we did get our requisite Yogi shot, along with Montclair Mayor Ed Remsen hobnobbing with local philanthropist Josh Weston and impressario Jedediah Wheeler (shown in between Michael Kasser, whose father the building is named for, and a Baryshnikov associate.)
The opening night play, “The Forbidden Christmas or the Doctor and the Patient,” was, well, not your Papermill Playhouse fare. Baristakov plays a sailor who thinks he’s car, and that’s not the weirdest thing about the play. (“Existential,” we heard one patron explaining to another on the way out.) We think it’s more like “It’s a Wonderful Life” in the form of a Chagall painting come to life. More on the theater and the play here.