For 60 years, Lincoln Center has been a magnet for famous figures doing fascinating things, and sometimes it isn't people you'd typically find in front of an orchestra or on an opera stage. Alec Baldwin, for example, not only hosts the New York Philharmonic's radio broadcasts, but also serves as artistic advisor for the orchestra's annual Art of the Score series. With the actor set to take the stage along with Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne before a live screening of On the Waterfrontalong with a live performance by the New York Philharmonic of the movie's score, we looked back through the files to see what other luminaries have appeared at Lincoln Center, focusing on those appearing in events where we'd least expect them.

  • Charlie Chaplin (Film Society of Lincoln Center) April 4, 1972

    For an organization that has honored the likes of Fred Astaire, Bette Davis, and Gregory Peck, the Film Society set the tone right from its very first gala by highlighting Charlie Chaplin. The once-beloved filmmaker had been banned from the United States in the 1950s for his left-of-center politics and was in no hurry to return. But a personal invitation by the Society President Martin Segal convinced the British-born Chaplin and his American wife, Oona, to spend four days in New York City, headlined by a gala screening of a fresh print of The Kid with a new score composed by Chaplin for the occasion. [Photo: Morseman / Newsday]

    • Ken Kesey (Chamber Music Society) December 15, 1989

      The Chief Prankster himself made it to Alice Tully Hall to narrate the New York premiere of Arthur Maddox's 30-minute piece Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear, a setting of a traditional folktale that Kesey had recounted in his 1986 collection, Demon Box. His other bestsellers notwithstanding, Kesey thought this charming children's story was the best thing he'd ever written. Even the New York Times, citing Kesey's "vivid, larger-than-life personality," reported that the "audience, far from young, seemed favorably disposed and even participated on cue." [Photo: Allen Ginsberg / Corbis]

      • Allen Ginsberg (Lincoln Center Festival) August 11, 1996

        The inaugural Lincoln Center Festival's tribute to violinist-conductor-humanitarian Yehudi Menuhin had a long and eclectic lineup. None of the featured soloists, though, was more notable than Allen Ginsberg, the veritable rock star of beat poets who shared both Menuhin's Jewish lineage and his devotion to Indian culture. Ginsberg narrated his Hydrogen Jukebox collaborator Philip Glass's Echorus, a musical setting of the poet's 1955 text "Sunflower Sutra," giving what the New York Times called an "impassioned delivery [that] overwhelmed the gurgling accompaniment." It's hard to expect anything less from the author of Howl. [Photo: Heather Faulkner / Getty Images]

        • Dom DeLuise (Metropolitan Opera) 1989–1996

          Former Burt Reynolds sidekick and Mel Brooks favorite Dom DeLuise was arguably the most unlikely—and longest-running—comic actor to appear at the Met as the non-singing jailor Frosch in Otto Schenk's production of Die Fledermaus. Before Schenk's production was replaced by Jeremy Sams's 2013 version, with Broadway's Danny Burstein playing Frosch, comedians making their Met debut in the role had included Sid Caesar (1987) and Bill Irwin (2005), as well as Schenk himself. Initially dubious of DeLuise in the role, the New York Times ended up praising "the presence of a real (albeit unsubtle) comedian" in the opera's cast. This season, Broadway's Christopher FItzgerald will take on the role. [Photo: Winnie Klotz / Metropolitan Opera Archives]

          • Amy Sedaris (Lincoln Center Festival) 1997

            A couple of years before her television breakthrough with Strangers with Candy, her spoof of after-school specials on Comedy Central, Amy Sedaris starred (with Conan O'Brien sidekick Andy Richter) in Incident at Cobbler's Knob, a hyper-verbal comedy co-written by Sedaris and her brother David (who, at the time, was already well-known for his books and short stories, including Barrel Fever, Naked, and The SantaLand Diaries). Not exactly typical Lincoln Center material, the Sedaris' Incident was irreverent, surreal, and hilarious and refused to take itself too seriously, with a script that used the f-word liberally. As the New York Times put it, "vulgarity shouldn't be this funny, but it's being ridiculed, not reveled in." [Photo: Scott Gries / Image Direct / Getty Images]

            • Isabella Rossellini (Lincoln Center Festival)1999

              What does it say about Lincoln Center that longtime Lancôme model and second-generation Hollywood royal Isabella Rossellini not only appeared in a stage piece at what was then known as the New York State Theater, but didn't even stand out on the marquee? Robert Wilson's hypnotic work The Days Before: Death, Destruction and Detroit III, based on texts by Umberto Eco and Christopher Knowles and with music by Oscar winner Ryuichi Sakamoto, had such a high-profile and diverse cast—Rossellini shared the stage with Fiona Shaw, Tony Randall, and others—that the New York Times compared it to a "high-culture Hollywood Squares." [Photo: John Martyn/ ullstein bild / Getty Images]

              • Jessye Norman / Bill T. Jones (New Visions) 1999

                Of all the remarkable pairings to come from Lincoln Center's eclectic New Visions series—and this included a collaboration with Bill T. Jones, Toni Morrison, and Max Roach—the most unlikely alliance was possibly Jones and Jessye Norman in How! Do! We! Do! Their non-traditional duo recital unfolded in a wide range of music and dance, with recited poetry by Frank O'Hara. Jones didn't sing; Norman didn't dance, but the two created a sense of genuinely shared space. "They may not have found [what they were] looking for as major performers," the New York Times observed. "But the search may still be worthwhile." [Photo: Lincoln Center]

                • Al Gore (American Symphony Orchestra2) February 7, 2000

                  Contrary to various internet reports, the former vice president has never appeared with the New York Philharmonic. Rather, he was the celebrity narrator in Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait for a high-profile fundraiser at Avery Fisher Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra. The confusion makes sense, though, since the Philharmonic has featured a wide range of public figures intoning Lincoln's words—most recently, in May 2015, baseball legend Joe Torre. Other Philharmonic guests honoring our 16th president have included poet and Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg (in 1969), CBS anchor Walter Cronkite (in 1975), and even Copland himself (in 1980). [Photo: Tim Sloan / AFP / Getty Images]

                  • Martin Scorsese / Steven Spielberg (New York Philharmonic) April 2 and 26, 2006

                    New York Philharmonic "announcer-in-residence" Alec Baldwin may have helped to cement film music as a regular part of the orchestra's offerings, but these two Oscar-winning directors definitely got there first. Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg made a rare public appearance together co-hosting and narrating an evening of music by Bernard Herrmann and John Williams, with Williams himself conducting. A hit of the evening was Spielberg introducing an Indiana Jones chase scene both before and after Williams's music was added. [Photo: Julie Skarratt]

                    • Fran Drescher (New York Philharmonic) 2008

                      Recalling the history of singers who've appeared with the Philharmonic, Fran Drescher's "Nanny" is not exactly the first vocal color that comes to mind—and indeed, Lonny Price's elaborately "semi-staged" production of Camelot had Marin Mazzie's Guenevere and Nathan Gunn's Lancelot firing the heavy guns. But Drescher's characteristically nasal turn as the sorceress Morgan le Fay provided some memorable comic moments. And she even got to sing. Paired with Bobby Steggert's Mordred, Drescher performed "The Invisible Wall," a song cut from the cast album and often eliminated in many stage productions. [Photo: Chris Lee / New York Philharmonic]

                      • Christopher Plummer (New York Philharmonic) September 17, 2011

                        For most moviegoers, Christopher Plummer will always be The Sound of Music's Captain von Trapp. Die-hard Shakespeare fans, though, remember him as the equally commanding Henry V ever since his 1955 debut in the role at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Decades later—first in 1996, then in 2011—Plummer performed Henry V:A Shakespeare Scenario, a piece for speaker, chorus, and orchestra mixing excerpts from the play with William Walton's score from Laurence Olivier's classic 1943 film adaptation. Plummer, a longtime classical music fan, was one of the people who commissioned the piece—put together by writer and orchestrator Christopher Palmer—back in 1988. [Photo: Chris Lee / New York Philharmonic]

                        • Emma Thompson (New York Philharmonic) 2014

                          Not many famous film actors make their New York stage debut with a symphony orchestra. Fewer still are those who, with so little on their résumés to suggest musical talent, go head-to-head vocally with one of opera's most famous stars. But as Mrs. Lovett, Emma Thompson made a truly memorable meat-pie vendor alongside Bryn Terfel's murderous barber and title character in the Philharmonic's production of Sweeney Todd, not only stealing the show but, as recounted in the New York Daily News, also "a fur wrap from a woman in the audience to use on stage." [Photo: Chris Lee]

                          • Marion Cotillard (New York Philharmonic)

                            After her Oscar-winning portrayal of Edith Piaf, Marion Cotillard knows something about playing a legend. Still, her starring role at New York Philharmonic was in a class by itself. So, too, is Honegger's hybrid opera-oratorio Joan of Arc at the Stake, which received its U.S. premiere at the Philharmonic in 1948 and has maintained a small but notable place there ever since (Kurt Masur's 1994 performances were narrated by Swiss actress-director Marthe Keller; Leonard Bernstein's "Joan" in 1958 was his wife, the actress Felicia Montealegre). More in keeping with its recent end-of-season, large-scale stagings, the Philharmonic recentlly presented the U.S .premiere of Come de Bellescize's 2012 production created for Japan's Saito Kinen Festival Massumoto. The New York Times called it "transfixing."  [Photo: Patrick Berger]