Sondheim, dinosaurs combine for NY charity gala

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Old 04-Oct-2011
Sondheim, dinosaurs combine for NY charity gala

New York: A treasure hunt devised by composer Stephen Sondheim prompted hundreds of people, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, to scamper through the dinosaur section of the American Museum of Natural History on Monday night.

"That was a blast," said Tony Award-winning actor John Benjamin Hickey, even though his team came up short at the charity gala. "It's the most fun I've ever had losing."

Sondheim, a legendary puzzle maker besides being a cherished songwriter, lent his skills to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of Friends In Deed, a nonprofit crisis center based in Manhattan's SoHo district that provides free emotional and spiritual support for anyone diagnosed with life-threatening physical illnesses.

The hunt took place in the halls of the Saurischian and Ornithischian dinosaurs and primitive animals. Participants were separated into teams and searched for the scientific or colloquial names of 12 creatures depicted in the clues.

Those words were then broken down into fragments, which when combined into a huge jumble of 12 four-letter groups, created a sentence that yielded the final clue.

"We really wanted to do something different," said Bravo cable TV channel's Andy Cohen, a Friends in Deed board member who admitted before the hunt that he considered himself lucky to have found himself on Broderick's team.

"This is extra special."

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