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“Get outta here!” Mr. Gere said with a smile.

Octavia Spencer, who won the supporting actress Oscar last year for her performance in “The Help,” also had a little fun.

“I’m going to do a soft-shoe,” she said, dancing off the stage.

Miss Streep and Jane Fonda were each wowed by the set design. Miss Fonda snapped a photo of it with her iPhone, and Miss Streep marveled at how far the walk to the microphone was.

“All the way to here?” she asked. “Oh my God.”

Halle Berry literally stumbled during her first rehearsal, her pointy heel catching on part of the stage. She insisted on trying again.

“Woo hoo,” she said. “Made it.”