Sundance Institute 25th-Anniversary Party

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Photo: Mark Von Holden/WireImage

Sundance Institute 25th-Anniversary Party

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It appears as though Claire Danes knows what she's doing, even though "waitress" is not listed on her T-shirt as a former job. See the next photo for the outcome of her balancing act.

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"I dropped a tray when all of the cameras were directed at me!" laughed Claire Danes, who got some help cleaning up from Uma Thurman and Stanley Tucci. "But I guess I provided the story of the night."

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Glenn Close, whose idea it was to have the A-list actors serve drinks to the crowd, gamely grabbed a tray even though her right leg was in a cast. A bucket-toting Paul Newman and Institute founder Robert Redford also joined in the fun.

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Uma Thurman (here with Kathy Bates) lived a waitress's dream: "I've served two whole trays, I haven't spilled anything and I got a tip," the actress beamed before dashing off to fulfill her duties.

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A confident tray-balancing Peter Dinklage and an unsteady Stanley Tucci also pitched in, serving drinks to guests before dinner.

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"I was a waitress for years, so it'll be like Old Home Week for me," said Marcia Gay Harden, who spent her years as an undiscovered actress waiting tables at a Howard Johnson restaurant and serving tea at New York's famous Pierre Hotel.

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A partygoer got into the spirit of the event and tipped Paul Newman, who was accepting gratuities via armband. "I've got a garter on my leg, but I thought that was inappropriate," he joked when asked where he would keep the rest of his tips.

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Harvey Keitel and Steve Buscemi gave the audience a look at a scene from their movie Reservoir Dogs when it was just a work-in-progress at the institute.

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The David Stark-designed event gave New Yorkers a taste of Sundance's Utah with maps, landscape murals, and trees festooned with leaves crafted from some of the movie scripts that the Institute has championed.

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Among the drinks served by celebrity waiters was a specialty iced chai cocktail spiked with Chivas Regal scotch. Paul Newman hawked cold beer, while Claire Danes and Uma Thurman busied themselves refilling guests' wine glasses.

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Tables were lush with graphic "flower" centerpieces made from the pages ofSundance scripts like Reservoir Dogs, Light in the Piazza and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

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Since the star waiters were off duty after the cocktail hour, dessert was served buffet style on painted picnic tables. Guests chose from an array of confections that included chocolate, carrot and velvet cakes, mini tarts, lemon bars and lollipops.

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