Family Equality Council Los Angeles Awards Dinner

Adam Lambert, Darren Criss, Amber Riley, Melissa Etheridge Lend Their Talents for Family Equality


A jubilant mood prevailed at the Family Equality Council’s Los Angeles Awards Dinner. Not only was there an impressive turnout of celebrities in the sell-out crowd, but also by night’s end the group set a new fundraising record, taking in proceeds of $571,000.

Click here to read my story in the Los Angeles Times “All the Rage” section and scroll down to find out more about the night’s entertainers: Darren Criss, Adam Lambert, Amber Riley and Melissa Etheridge; as well as the star-filled crowd. 

During the reception on London’s Baker Street in Universal City, guests praised the council’s goals. Said Scott Foley, aka Jake Ballard of “Scandal,” “How can you not be for family equality?”

“You don’t have to be gay to promote equality,” said Brad Ellis, dressed in all-black as he does, as the pianist on “Glee,” adding that he’s proud to be on a show of social importance, which portrays issues that both teens and adults face in today’s world.

Later that evening in the theater lobby, Adam Lambert also weighed in on the night’s cause. “Every child deserves a loving family,” said the “American Idol” finalist and new cast member on “Glee.”

As an aside, regarding “Glee,” Lambert first appeared on the show in November with more episodes coming up this season. Of working with the cast, he said, “It’s a great family feeling”

And as another aside, the first time I’d seen this extraordinary talent perform live, he sang the “Star Spangled Banner” in 2009 for the Anti-Defamation League. On that night Steven Spielberg received America’s Democratic Legacy Award, previously given to Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, Walter Annenberg, Colin Powell and John F. Kennedy. Here’s how the filmmaker reacted: “What my kids will remember is that I met Adam Lambert tonight,” Spielberg said. (Click here to read the story.)

As ceremonies began at the Feb. 8 affair in the Globe Theater, Darren Criss, aka Blaine Anderson of “Glee,” said he wished to play a song to encapsulate the night’s mood, something about family and equality. He chose “Somewhere That’s Green” from the “Little Shop of Horrors,” adding with his characteristic sense of humor, “It’s also the kind of song you can ignore, as you sip your drink and talk to your friends.” (If any guests in the room ignored his song, I missed seeming them. Perfect song; great performance.) 

“Isn’t he gorgeous, just gorgeous? Talented?” said host Alec Mapa, of “Switched at Birth” and “The Gossip Queens,” calling Criss one of the night’s “amazing singing voices.”

“I won’t be one of them,” Mapa added. “I have two problems that hold me up when it comes to singing – the words and the melody.”

Of the other “amazing voices,” Amber Riley, aka Mercedes Jones of “Glee,” sang “Who You Are” and Adam Lambert sang “Mad World,” both accompanied by Ellis on the piano.

Alex Newell, aka Unique of “Glee,” participated with Criss in an auction for a set visit to their show. (Lunch and a set visit to “Scandal” is now being raffled off at

Rocker Melissa Etheridge closed the show on a high note, talking of how far the gay community has come in the past 20 years, before singing “Uprising of Love.” She wrote the song, she said, in response to the Olympics, now casting a spotlight Russian attitudes.

Dan Bucatinsky of “Scandal,” photographer David Miller and HBO VP Casey Bloys co-chaired the event. Creator of “American Horror Story” and soon-to-come “Open” creator Ryan Murphy introduced Riley; Busy Philipps of “Cougar Town” introduced Lambert; and Amanda Bearse of “Married with Children” provided the voice-over announcements.

Among others attending were 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,” Harold Perrineau and Brittany Perrineau of “Lost,” Kathleen Robertson of “Boss,” and “Real Housewives” Heather Dubrow, Tamra Barney, Carlton Gebbia, Joyce Giraud and Yolanda Foster.

The Family Equality Council honors those who advance equality to all families, this year bestowing awards on Jennifer Tyrrell, an activist in the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender movement (LBGT); and Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg, creators of ABC Family’s “The Fosters.”

Family Equality Council's Annual Los Angeles Awards Dinner
Lead sponsors were HBO, Fox TV and Ryan Murphy Television.


Top photo: Adam Lambert sang “Mad World” at the Family Equality Council Los Angeles Awards Dinner  (photo,

Second photo: Alex Newell and Darren Criss of “Glee” auctioned off a set visit at the Family Equality Council Los Angeles Awards Dinner (photo,

Third photo: Amber Riley sang “Who You Are” at the Family Equality Council Los Angeles Awards Dinner (photo,

Fourth photo: Melissa Etheridge sang “Uprising of Love” at the Family Equality Council Los Angeles Awards Dinner  (photo, Charley Gallay/ Getty Images for Family Equality Council)

Fifth photo: From left, from the “Scandal” cast, Dan Bucatinsky, Tony Goldwyn and Scott Foley at the Family Equality Council Los Angeles Awards Dinner  (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/ Getty Images for Family Equality Council)



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Family Equality Council Los Angeles Awards Dinner

Published Feb. 10, 2014 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA