HBO feted the final campaign of Entourage with a screening and party, giving fans, family and friends a chance to hug it out with the Hollywood buddy series Tuesday night in Manhattan.
Like its send-off of The Sopranos at Radio City Music Hall in 2007, HBO brought out the executives, crew and cast of Entourage at the Beacon Theater on July 19 to say farewell and soak in the applause. Following red carpet activities, HBO co-president Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo, president of HBO programming, extolled and introduced the players, including executive producer Mark Wahlberg, whose life/career served as the inspiration of the show and creator Doug Ellin. Saved for last, were the boys, in alphabetical order: Kevin Connolly (E), Kevin Dillon (Johnny Drama), Jerry Ferrara (Turtle), Adrian Grenier (Vince) and Jeremy Piven (Ari Gold).
HBO, which provided free popcorn and beverages at the Beacon, then ran Hollywood Sunset: A Tribute to Entourage, the retrospective currently airing on the network; the show's final season debut episode, scheduled for July 24 at 10:30 p.m. ; and the season's second installment, which features a shout-out of sorts for a pair of AMC series.
The after-party took guests to Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History, several blocks away.
At HBO soirees, there are no velvet ropes or VIP areas. Hence, celebrity-watching and interaction are part of the party favors. Amid the cocktails, sushi, shrimp, sliders and salads stood all of the series' stars, including Perrey Reeves (Mrs. Ari) and Emmanuelle Chriqui (Sloan) in form-flattering outfits.
Among the other notables spotted either at the Beacon, en route to the after-party, and/or at the museum: HBO CEO Bill Nelson; Turner Broadcasting System vice chairman Andy Heller; Johnny Galecki, the lead comedy actor Emmy nominee for CBS's Big Band Theory, who appears in Sunday's Entourage episode; Andrew Dice Clay (providing voice-overs for Drama's animated ape comedy); U.S. women's national team members Hope Solo and Alex Morgan, who were making the media rounds yesterday in Bristol and the Big Apple; actor Mattthew Modine; heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko; newly minted Time Warner Cable CMO Jeffrey Hirsch; and Michael Kenneth Williams, known for his work as Omar Little in HBO's acclaimed series The Wire and now portraying Chalky White on the premium net's Emmy-nominated Atlantic City prohibition drama, Boardwalk Empire.
For his part, Ellin was espied as he engaged in a photo op in the balcony with the great blue whale, hovering over the hall, in the background.
Earlier, a slimmed down Ferrara, perched on the steps outside the museum's Central Park West entrance, was overheard responding, "I'm trying to figure that out," when asked what's his next career step.
Entourage advocates will soon reach that crossroads when the show premieres its finale - unless a rumored movie comes to fruition.