Party Coverage: Scene City
By ISAAC OLIVER
It’s been 11 years since we last saw them together, so when Will and Grace fell into a hug halfway through a party on Saturday night, you could practically hear the theme song’s rousing piano-pounded first chords.
Flashbulbs exploded around them. Onlookers oohed and aahed. “This is my favorite show ever,” a young man said with a gasp. “I’m dying.”
Death didn’t seem imminent, but much has come to pass since “Will & Grace” was last broadcast on NBC in 2006. So there was a fond sense of reunion when partygoers joined Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and other cast members at Mr. Purple lounge in Manhattan to celebrate the show’s Sept. 28 return. (Megan Mullally was ill.)
The party, which was given by Vanity Fair and the Cinema Society, was happy, familiar and quite warm. Guests shimmered with sweat on the terraces, where Rihanna blasted from omnipresent speakers into the muggy September night.
“It’s so hot, I’m sweating,” said Mariska Hargitay of “Law & Order: S.V.U.” Her husband, Peter Hermann, of the comedy series “Younger,” brought her a slider. “God, I love you,” she told him, biting into it. “I was so hungry.”
Harry Connick Jr., a returning guest star on the series, and Keegan-Michael Key had a crossed-arms confab by the bar, while a baseball-capped David Schwimmer sneaked in and out. Tituss Burgess chatted up Scott Adsit, and Carol Kane was curled in a couch corner, a dog in her bag.
Mr. McCormack, who was congratulated at every step, took a break on a chaise longue to answer some questions. How does the reboot measure up? “It’s possible it’s better,” he said. “We’re older and wiser. If America embraces us again, I hope this can run for a while.” (NBC has already renewed the show for a 10th season.)
Inside, guests downed martinis in nooks surrounded by assorted decorative nonsense including teapots and painter’s palettes. In the cast’s section, James Burrows, who directed the original series as well as the new season, hugged Diane Sawyer as she bobbed to remixed Amy Winehouse. Mr. Hayes sampled a margarita pizza while seated between his husband, Scott Icenogle, and Andy Cohen, who whispered excitedly in his ear.
Ms. Messing, who wore a voluminous floral dress from Ingie Paris, stood shyly in a swarm of colleagues, handlers and well-wishers. Stealing an empty spot on the couch, Ms. Messing credited a get-out-the-vote video that the actors made last year for the show’s reprise.
“I’m very critical of myself, and I’m really proud of this,” she said, pausing as the producer Nancy Jarecki leaned in with accolades.
“I wanted to come back because I really felt the need to laugh again,” Ms. Messing said. “We’ve all been traumatized by the last year. We want people to have a respite for a half-hour, once a week. I’m excited for our fans to reunite with old friends. I hope it’s comforting.”