Identical twins Heather and Rose MacDowell waited tables for five years in Manhattan before penning their novel, Turning Tables, out next week. Rose won’t name the restaurants they worked for, offering only that she was at one of the Ark Restaurants in Manhattan (it operates the Bryant Park Grill and others), while her sister worked at a defunct Italian restaurant in the Columbus Circle area. Nevertheless, she was quite candid about the industry she says she could only cope with via on-the-job hookups and shots snuck from behind the bar.
Last night at Joe's Pub, four teams made up of Broadway composers, directors, writers, actors, and assorted other creatives unveiled the works they had produced for the inaugural 24 Hour Musicals, which, like the annual 24 Hour Plays event, requires contestants to prepare a musical from scratch in just 24 hours. We swung by and took the opportunity to ask the punchy participants a question that's been rolling around our heads since Iowa: If the presidential candidates were in a musical, what would it be? "I would do a musical about people that live under the subways, like the subway moles, and I would cast John McCain as, like, the leader of the underground subterranean people," actress Ashlie Atkinson said breathlessly. "And then I would cast Hillary Clinton as a developer who is trying to destroy their oasis." Mo Rocca had other ideas. "I think it would be a psychosexual thriller about Bill Clinton trying to hook up with Michelle Obama," he said. "I'm currently obsessed with Michelle Obama. And, um, I think she's beautiful. I think she's dynamic. I think there will be legions of drag queens soon dressing up as Michelle Obama. She's just a great sort of larger-than-life figure." But what about Hillary? Is Hillary really musical material? "Umm," he paused to think. "She's tough with musicals. Hillary's just not really very musical." —Amy OdellClick here to see video Mo, Kerry Butler, and others chatting with New York and performing in the 24 Hour Musicals.
Robin Williams was in rare (okay, typical) form last night at the premiere of his new schmaltzy caper, August Rush. In it, he plays a Fagan-like proprietor of an abandoned theater, home to a gang of musical orphans (really). We asked him if he ever played a musical instrument in real life. “Yes,” he said, “and I've been asked to stop.” Turns out he spent some time playing the sax: “I did a black blues-player set,” he said; then he turned into a black blues player: “Man, you just gotta relax! You gotta make love to it, don't hurt it, you know?” But his favorite music, he said, is the music of New York. "Look around you," he exclaimed. "It’s like Gershwin flowin'! It’s got music, girl, everywhere. Uptown, downtown” — he turned into a feisty Latina. "Hola, mira, Mami. You got this thing, and it just keeps you movin’, ju know? You gotta have it, Papi. You know, leesten, leesten. Iss all crazy! You got to have music! And then you have the Russian clubs in Brooklyn" — with this he made some Russian-seeming sounds — "and Jewish music, Vhot, music!? It’s klezmer, what! Music to flee by! That’s why we take the skin off our penis — you gotta move! You can’t travel with that! Then you get in a cab" — he made some high-pitched wailing sounds — "Can you turn the radio down? Osama, please." At this, the publicist began pulling him away, either because she felt enough was enough with the ethnic stereotypes or because the screening was about to begin. In his wake, however, there was a chorus of laughter. —Ben KawallerMore Party Lines quotes and photos from the August Rush party: Keri Russell's an instant cello virtuoso; Tamara Tunie philanthropically screws over her relatives.