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Theater

  1. gossipmonger
    Cautious CooperAnderson Cooper showers in his underwear at the gym to ward off camera-phone-wielding fans. Tyra Banks and Russell Simmons dined-and-dashed at the Brooklyn Diner. Robert De Niro may be mad at David Bowie because the rock star is kicking off his High Line Festival three days after Tribeca ends. (As New York’s Vulture reported yesterday.) LL Cool J may star in a revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Taki Theodoroacpulos won the U.S. National Judo Championship in 70-to-75 age bracket. In his upcoming tell-all, Michael Strahan compares playing pro football to being stabbed repeatedly. Former O.C. stars Adam Brody and Benjamin McKenzie witnessed a fight at Gold Bar. Susan Sarandon’s daughter, Eva Amuri, is pleased with her two sex scenes in Fred Durst’s directorial debut, The Education of Charlie Banks.
  2. obit
    Remembering Kitty Carlisle Hart, a Last Link to Glamorous New York Kitty Carlisle Hart belonged to the heyday of the ‘21’ Club and Sardi’s, of Harpo Marx acting up at parties where George Gershwin (who once proposed to her) played only his own songs. Her death today, at a vibrant 96, severs one of the last links to a New York that had more glamour than celebrity, more sophistication than wealth. In a newspaper interview a few years ago — between cabaret engagements, dates with beaux, and the other social commitments incumbent upon a “living landmark” of the city — she wondered what had happened to the place. Decades ago, she recalled, “we used to get all dressed up and go out dancing, then we’d go out for breakfast, and then we’d go to work the next day. I don’t know why they don’t do that anymore.”
  3. cultural capital
    A Dumbo Developer by Any Other Name … Is Dumbo megadeveloper David Walentas the inspiration for the adaptation of an Elizabethan play that opens tomorrow night in the arty turned pricey hood? Spring Theaterworks is staging Arden: The Lamentable Tragedie of a Dumbo Real Estate Mogul. It’s the 1592 play Arden of Feveresham, which chronicles the gory end of a shady landowner (and some say was written by Shakespeare), relocated to modern-day Dumbo, where Arden lives in a sleek loft space. As for Walentas, he nearly single-handedly converted the area’s old industrial hulks into luxury condos, and he both supported and displaced local artists as he did it. He’s not named in the new script, but everyone’s buzzing that the lushly maned macher is the model for the new Arden, whose onstage death is plotted by his wife and her lover. (Walentas’ real-life wife, Jane, has plotted only to restore an old carousel — at least as far as anyone knows.)
  4. cultural capital
    Look Out! Here Comes the Edge and Bono! Three years ago, Playbill posted a news item that seemed so ludicrous as to be a prank: An upcoming Spider-Man musical, it announced, would be directed by Julie Taymor, with music written by Bono and the Edge. Well, SuperHeroHype.com claims to have unearthed the casting notice for a July staged reading, and it looks either legit or extremely well faked: “The burden of being a superhero, his guilt for his role in his uncle’s death, as well as his debilitating crush on Mary Jane all weigh heavily upon him. Great pop/rock voice.” We assume Bono and the Edge are writing original music for this, but why should they? We bet they could just repurpose their catalog and turn it into Spider-Man: The U2 Experience. Lyrics to “I Still Haven’t Found Uncle Ben’s Killer” are after the jump.
  5. party lines
    The Night of Magical Thinking It’s probably for the best that we weren’t welcome at the after-party last night for The Year of Magical Thinking opening. After a 95-minute monologue about grief, death, and more grief, who’s in the mood for cocktails and schmoozing? The small, pre-curtain reception at Sardi’s was enough, with its parade of Serious Actresses (and a few others) bowing before the equally legendary Vanessa Redgrave, who stars, and Joan Didion, who adapted the play from her book: Stockard Channing, Marian Seldes, Christine Baranski, Claire Danes, Michael Cunningham. “I wore waterproof mascara,” said Danes, who admitted she owns but hasn’t read the book. “I’m taking a few of these cocktails napkins with me,” echoed Channing. “But I think we’ll all be okay.”
  6. cultural capital
    The Multitalented People of ‘Curtains’The just-opened Kander and Ebb musical Curtains is, as you know, the famed music-and-lyrics duo’s first collaboration with writer Rupert Holmes. (Fred Ebb died while working on the show, and Holmes helped John Kander finish it.) It’s also the first collaboration of stars David Hyde Pierce and Debra Monk, though not of Pierce and co-star Edward Hibbert, who both appeared on Frasier. And we noticed a funny thing flipping through our Playbill the other night: In an unexpected U.N.-McSweeney’s-Sopranos twist, Curtains is undoubtedly the first Broadway collaboration of credited company members John Bolton, David Eggers, and David Chase. A triple threat, indeed. Related: She’s a Man, Baby! [NYM]
  7. intel
    The Eartha Kitt Primary: Go Obama! Obama and Bloomberg get a thumbs-up, and Hillary gets a raised eyebrow, from the inimitable Eartha Kitt. The still very spry singer and dancer, who turned 80 in January, plays a fortune-teller in a Kander and Ebb musical, All About Us, coming to the Westport Country Playhouse. At a sneak peek of the show this week, we asked about her ‘08 presidential picks. “I’m for my country, not politicians who go blah blah blah,” purred the eternal Catwoman, who spent a decade shut out of gigs in this country after she denounced the Vietnam War during a 1968 White House visit.
  8. developing
    Governors Island Globetrotters Turn to the Park Service When the short list of potential Governors Island redevelopment plans came out in January, it didn’t include a proposal for a postmodern Globe Theater. But that hasn’t stopped project founder Barbara Romer and her supporters from pushing on with the idea. Romer mustered dozens of supporters — including Municipal Art Society majordomo Frank Sanchis — to a National Park Service “listening session” at downtown’s Federal Hall rotunda last night, where she pushed for a Norman Foster–designed glass-sheathed Globe in the harbor’s Castle Williams, where a museum now stands. The event was organized to collect bold ideas for ten nationwide projects the Park Service will fund in the next decade, and, since Parks controls the fort Romer has her eye on, she’s now lobbying to get her project named one of those ten. “The adaptive, culturally used forts are the ones people really visit,” she said at the session. “The service will choose projects by May 31, and I think it would be really exciting for New York to be on the list.” An added bonus: At least according to the rendering Romer displayed, the project would ensure large, pretty snowflakes for lower Manhattan each winter. Which would be much nicer than last week’s slush. —Alec Appelbaum
  9. cultural capital
    Farley Granger’s Hollywood Bed-hopping Tell-allPerhaps best known for his roles in Hitchcock’s Rope and Strangers on a Train before ditching Hollywood for the New York stage, handsome Farley Granger (now 81) slept with some of the biggest names in mid-century entertainment (Ava Gardner, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents) before settling down with TV producer Robert Calhoun on the Upper West Side. The two recently wrote Include Me Out, Granger’s sweetly chatty memoir of evolving from the wide-eyed pretty boy of the postwar Goldwyn lot (the title refers to his long, hard-won effort to break his contract with the studio) to a liberated man of cinema, TV, and the theatuh, working and playing with the likes of Helen Hayes and Aaron Copland. So how does he feel about today’s pretty boys? Find out after the jump.
  10. party lines
    Theater on the Radio Eric Bogosian’s Talk Radio is about a controversial and caustic radio host who’s forced to confront the hatred he’s engendered just as he’s about to get picked up for national syndication. A Broadway revival starring Liev Schreiber opened Sunday night, and the after-party seemed a good place to conduct an informal survey of actors’ listening habits. We learned that Chris Noth won’t listen to radio anymore, Stephanie March wants to be a customer-service avenger, and Bogosian only listens to classical. There’s a lot more, all after the jump.
  11. photo op
    Alternatively: Practice, Practice, Practice Spotted in front of Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall Friday night, just before a New York Philharmonic concert performance of My Fair Lady, starring Kelsey Grammer, Kelli O’Hara, Brian Dennehy, and Charles Kimbrough: a woman desperately soliciting a scalped ticket — in her mink coat. Only in New York, kids.
  12. cultural capital
    Upper Upper West Side Story New York’s Jeremy McCarter loved In the Heights, a new musical at 37 Arts, and he’s not the only one. At an all-high-school matinee organized by the Theater Development Fund yesterday, a packed house of almost entirely black and Latino teens from Washington Heights screamed and stomped wildly through the show, which weaves hip-hop, salsa, and old-fashioned storytelling into a nouveau–West Side Story tale of love, loss, dreams, and change in the gentrifying-but-still- mostly-Dominican Heights. The kids went crazy from the first (rapped) mention of the D.R., and they stayed entranced through the electrifying dance sequence at the end of Act One to the hysteria-inducing moment when hunky heartthrob Christopher Jackson (who plays limo dispatcher Benny) sauntered onstage for a raucous audience Q&A after the show. It was quite a scene to take in, like being in the audience for the very first B’nai Brith night at Fiddler. After the talkback, we asked six audience members — all Heights residents, all seniors at the neighborhood’s International High School of Business and Finance — how the show stacked up against their hood.
  13. party lines
    A Hirsute Kevin Kline Plans to Shave Last night’s opening of King Lear brought Kevin Kline to the Public once again to expertly spout the lines of your favorite neologist. The entire cast headed to B Bar for the after-party, where the martinis were as hard to hold on to as Lear’s sanity — non-inebriated guests poured them on their shirts as often as down their throats, and the waitresses dropped an unofficial record seven trays (we lost count). Frances McDormand saw the three-hour play but didn’t make it to the party while Philip Seymour Hoffman popped in for a minute and Piper Perabo sat outside chain-smoking and talking about a paraplegic whose advice was to “Live life to the fullest!” Jocelyn Guest caught up with Kline on his way out. By the way, he stroked his beard constantly.
  14. cultural capital
    We Understand, and We’re Talking About It L.A.-based artist and filmmaker Miranda July’s new performance piece, Things We Don’t Understand and Are Definitely Not Going to Talk About — potentially the basis for a new film — opened last night at the Kitchen for a sold-out weekend run to an enthusiastic crowd, which included David Byrne. Things, in essence, is a love triangle, a clichéd story you might see on a Saved By the Bell rerun. But July’s gentle charm and engaging use of video, audience participation, and a dead cat demonstrate how the story itself can be much less important than the telling.
  15. photo op
    Off Broadway Audiences Are Even More Unsophisticated Than You Feared Spotted the other night in the restroom of a small Off Broadway theater. The “Stop Disease Method of Hand Washing” includes the following steps: Use soap and running water, rub hands vigorously, wash all surfaces, rinse well, and dry.
  16. in other news
    James Wolcott Does Not Have a Small Bladder, He InsistsYesterday we learned Times movie critic A.O. Scott doesn’t watch the Oscars; in the same long weekend, it turns out, we also learned that Vanity Fair’s resident cultural curmudgeon, James Wolcott, can’t sit through a two-hour play. From his VF.com blog: More and more, I see shows described as “intermissionless,” and I hear the rattle of leg irons. It isn’t that I’m incapable of “holding it in.” It isn’t that I’m likely to pull a Costanza and trample any senior blocking the aisle to make a beeline to the bathroom while the cast takes its bow. It’s that I don’t like feeling trapped, stuck for the duration … Moreover, intermissions are so civilized. You retire to the lobby, order an overpriced drink, compare notes and discreetly eavesdrop, step outside to take the air, or, if the first act was dire, flee. (“I count it as one of the great moments of my life when I first realized one could actually walk out of a theatre. I don’t mean offensively — but go to the bar at the interval and not come back. I first did it at Oxford: I was watching …”) Oh, sorry. Drifted off there. But don’t worry: There’s lots more. We can’t wait for it. Really. We’ll just nip out to the lobby first for a second, and — Exit Ramp Closed [James Wolcott’s Blog/VF.com]
  17. gossipmonger
    Bill Clinton’s Handshakes Are Still FetishizedMike Bloomberg, Ron Perelman, and David Koch are the three most philanthropic New Yorkers, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Bill Clinton gave Cindy Adams a tutorial on shaking hands. An old man yelled at Edie Falco. Peter Fonda says stage actors “have intercourse with the audience every night.” Donald Trump wants to dump Nancy O’Dell as the host of Miss USA. A random model — Amber Valletta — doesn’t care for New York. Josh Hartnett and Maria Sharapova considered doing karaoke on Thursday night. Steve Schwarzman grew up poor.
  18. cultural capital
    ‘Putnam County’ Goes G-A-YIt is a question handed down since the time of the pharaohs, or at least since the time of Joseph: How is gay night at a Broadway musical different from all other nights? The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee — already a not-ungay show, featuring both a character with two dads and music and lyrics by William Finn, who wrote and composed the pioneering gay musical Falsettos — attempted to find out yesterday, with a special “gay night” performance.
  19. party lines
    They Like the Nightlife At Monday night’s Nightlife Awards, honoring cabaret, jazz, and comedy, performers dished about life on the boards. And about gift bags. Swag bags, pro or con? “I never take them. Every gift bag I’ve ever gotten has gotten three kinds of hand cream, a CD of Aida, and a copy of In Style magazine. Give me free Botox or free hair transplants, or a $2,000 gift certificate to Armani for some underwear. Although nowadays, a flu shot would be good too, and harder to come by than Botox.” —Charles Busch, playwright and drag queen What’s in your fantasy swag bag? “A kazoo, a can of SpaghettiOs, and a forty of Colt 45.” —Daniel Reichard, Jersey Boys actor
  20. cultural capital
    His Video Clip Will Touch You, Even Though He Can’t Edward Scissorhands is coming to BAM in March, but it’s not the familiar old Tim Burton movie. Nope, this version is a dance play, directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne and with original music by Terry Davies. The preview video clip alone is worth the price of admission (which for the video, come to think of it, is free). It’s weird and oddly entrancing, and for some reason — the music, the slo-mo — it reminds us of a credit-card ad, or maybe a De Beers commercial. Even weirder. Video Preview: Edward Scissorhands [BAM.org]
  21. cultural capital
    ‘Grease’ Reality TV: There Are Worse Things They Could Do Grease is, of course, the word. It is also the raison d’être for a new reality show that premiered on NBC last night. In Grease: You’re the One That I Want, we the people, American Idol–ly assisted by three judges — one a well-known professional, one an industry insider, and one a producer with a cold manner and a British accent — will cast the roles of Danny and Sandy for a new Broadway revival of the Travolta–Newton-John musical. After the premiere ended last night, New York’s theater critic, Jeremy McCarter, and Daily Intel’s Jesse Oxfeld fired up the Instant Messenger to discuss the show, its stars, and whether this can possibly be a good way to pick two Broadway leads. Here, their Angus McIndoe–ready post-show banter: Oxfeld: Did you have chills? Oxfeld: Are they multiplying? Oxfeld: I presume, actually, that you’re indignant — as you are wont to be — about the Hollywoodization/populist-ization/etc. of the Great White Way. McCarter: Me, indignant? McCarter: Actually, I’m not. Not as much as many seem to be, anyway. Oxfeld: Do people seem to be? Oxfeld: I mean, after all, it’s, well, Grease. Oxfeld: It’s hard to get worked up about disrespecting its highbrow legacy. McCarter: That’s how I feel. But the general reaction seems to be that the Temple of the Muses is being desecrated by the barbarians, etc. Oxfeld: So, having now seen the premiere, is it more or less desecrating than you were expecting? McCarter: I don’t think it desecrates it at all, actually. It’s kind of tawdry and exhibitionistic, and I frequently wanted to look away. But, hey, it’s Broadway.
  22. intel
    ‘Little Dog’ to Stop LaughingThe pitch-black Hollywood satire The Little Dog Laughed opened in November to good reviews and raves for its star, the amazing Julie White, who gave one of the most memorable performances of the season — and, we should add, a pretty memorable interview to New York. (Her “sinfully funny turn as an amoral Hollywood agent,” merited an honorable mention from our Jeremy McCarter in the year-end Culture Awards.) It also played last week — the tourist-packed Christmas–to–New Year week — to the smallest capacity of any show on Broadway. And so today comes the unsurprising but vaguely saddening announcement that the show will be closing next month, with its final performance on February 18. The forgettable and superfluous Les Mis revival, however, continues to pack ‘em in. The Year in Theater [NYM] Agent Provocateur: Julie White [NYM] Earlier: One Day More Is the Bitch of Living
  23. cultural capital
    One Day More Is the Bitch of LivingDo you hear the people sing? Well, you’d better get used to it, because they’re going be singing “at least through the summer of 2007.” That’s right: The allegedly limited-run revival of Les Misérables has been extended, according to a press release out yesterday. The current production of the eighties megamusical opened at the beginning of November, a mere three years after closing its original sixteen-year Broadway run, and despite bad reviews it’s doing boffo box office: Last week it ran at 83 percent capacity. Meantime, Spring Awakening, the groundbreaking, enthralling, and critically adored new rock musical — “the new indie-rock treatment of Frank Wedekind’s play about hormonal adolescents has just about everything going for it,” says Jeremy McCarter— is freshly opened and has been struggling: Last week it only filled 60 percent of its house. (And that was an improvement.) Which means that shows about revolutions are bigger draws than revolutionary ones. Vive, it seems, l’ancien régime.
  24. 21 questions
    ‘Spring Awakening’ Choreographer Bill T. Jones Doesn’t Wear JeansName: Bill T. Jones Age: 54 Job: Dancer and choreographer; choreographer of Spring Awakening, which opened on Broadway Sunday to rave reviews Neighborhood: Rockland County Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? Ratso, the character Dustin Hoffman plays in Midnight Cowboy. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York? Seafood sausage at Chanterelle. In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job? Thinking about dances, making dances, and figuring out how to pay for the making of dances.
  25. cultural capital
    ‘High Fidelity’ Breaks Up With BroadwayNews came late yesterday that High Fidelity, the unloved Broadway musical adapted from the loved John Cusack movie based on the loved Nick Hornby book, will be closing Sunday, after opening just last Thursday (“The score consisted of the vague Broadway-rock wash that sounds authentic only next to other pop musicals!” —New York’s Jeremy McCarter). That’s a total of only 14 performances, outdoing even this season’s painful Bob Dylan–Twyla Tharp musical, which lasted a whopping 28, and the spring’s David Schwimmer–led Caine Mutiny Court-Martial revival, which kept itself revived for 17 shows. A quick spin through the Internet Broadway Database — yes, we’ve also lost track of how many different kinds of geeky we are — proves that Fidelity is not, in fact, the shortest-running Broadway show of the young 21st century. A Macbeth starring Kelsey Grammer ran for 13 performances in 2000, Martha Plimpton’s Broadway debut, Sixteen Wounded, did a dozen in 2004, and the Suzanne Somers vehicle The Blonde in the Convertible stalled after just 9 last year. And then there’s Ellen Burstyn’s one-woman The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. It closed after opening night in 2003. Now It’s Die, Fidelity [NYP]
  26. party lines
    Theater People Celebrate an Institution, Complain About SexLast night was the fifth-anniversary celebration for Angus McIndoe’s, the theater-district hot spot popular before shows with tourists and after shows with actors and critics, and the party drew what one wag identified as the five sectors of the theatergoing population: gays, Jews, gay Jews, the WASPs who write about them, and the women who love them all. Much of the talk was about Spring Awakening, the exhilarating rock musical that opened Sunday night to amazing reviews in yesterday’s papers, and if you’re wondering why the show — about sexual discovery and repression among nineteenth-century teenagers — has struck such a chord with theater critics and reporters, you need only step into their world for a night to learn that this crowd knows more than a little about sexual frustration.
  27. gossipmonger
    Miss Anna May, In Fact, Like Fat PeopleA movement is afoot to regulate the body weight of runway models in New York City, and Anna Wintour is leading it. Blood Diamond director Ed Zwick took Russell Simmons to task after Simmons went on diamond-industry press junket to South Africa and Botswana and claimed the diamond trade there to be mostly beneficial. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin put their Tribeca pad on the market, but only for one day. The Hilton sisters don’t get much love from their potential in-laws. (One suspects the feeling is mutual.) ABC anchor Charles Gibson thinks Mayor Bloomberg will run for president. Nasdaq CEO Bob Greifeld admitted in court that he did not know the difference between a markup and a gross profit margin. The Little Dog Laughed star Julie White got a ticket for bringing her dog on the subway. Brazil’s first lady wants to adopt a child. Demi Moore dragged Ashton Kutcher to Fashion Week in September, but all Ashton wanted to do was watch football. The duo behind holiday show What I Like About Jew have gone their separate ways. Dakota Fanning thinks her next film is wonderful, despite the fact she’s raped in it. Matthew Fox and the cast of SNL hung out late night. Victoria Beckham styled Katie Holmes for a magazine cover shoot, and the 300-plus people involved were (allegedly) instructed not to make eye contact with the ladies. For reasons entirely unclear, Brett Ratner’s grandmother has her own realty show on VH1. Cindy Adams hates on Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto (although she hasn’t seen it), and Liz Smith loves James Lipton.
  28. gossipmonger
    Spitzer Feels Good (Just Like He Knew That He Would, Yeah)Eliot Spitzer’s New Year’s Day inauguration will feature James Brown and Natalie Merchant but not Alan Hevesi. Yes, Beyoncé threw Jay-Z a big birthday party in St. Barts. No, they’re not getting married, at least according to Rush & Molloy. John Kerry threw a dinner party for Democratic donors at his Georgetown home, at which he may or may not have shilled for his party’s 2008 nomination. Paris Hilton may be engaged to “student” Stavros Niarchos. Tinsley Mortimer’s sister-in-law is getting married to the director of Syriana. The reigning Miss Universe, also Miss Puerto Rico, is dating a fellow Puerto Rican. Mandy Moore had dinner with former flame Wilmer Valderrama. The director of scary when-scuba-goes-bad flick Open Water is set to direct another movie about sharks. A lot of people went to go see Annie at Madison Square Garden, and not everyone got in on time. Celebs donate time, company to an auction run by Martin Luther King Jr.’s eldest son. Colin Firth is a picky eater. Lindsay Lohan’s former assistant, now Jessica Biel’s assistant, was the subject of much of Lohan’s vitriol in the rambling e-mail she wrote two days ago. Eddie Murphy and his ex–Spice Girl ex-girlfriend continue to disagree over whether Eddie is the father of her baby, according to “Page Six.” (The News has this Murphy-Spice “exclusive,” too, worded the exact same way.) Britney Spears bought expensive lingerie, Dakota Fanning bought a dog, and Courtney Love is moving to London. Liz Smith claims John Stamos will be on an upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars, based on his affinity for tango. Molly Sims got stung by a bee in Hawaii.
  29. the morning line
    Everything Good Is Bad for You • A massive, almost Gangs of New York–style group fight in the unlikeliest of settings — Union Square’s Greenmarket — left one teenager dead. The two bands of high-school rivals, numbering around 50, wielded “canes, belts, fists and more.” Another teen is in serious condition at St. Vincent’s with multiple stab wounds. [WNBC] • Vegetables are bad for you, part two: Two more Taco Bells closed, both on Long Island, amid region-wide E. coli poisonings (99 to date and counting). The infection has been traced, surprisingly, to the scallions the company sprinkles atop its ground mystery meat. [amNY] • Reading is bad for you: P.S. 150 in Queens is pulling a young-adult book about coming out, a poetry collection that uses naughty words, and other titles. [NYDN] • Tishman Speyer, taking a break from its historic buying spree, casually set another record by selling 666 Fifth Avenue — which the company bought six years ago for about $500 million — to the Kushner family for $1.8 billion, the largest sum ever paid for a single building. [NYT] • And the Times runs a thoughtful piece about the perils of taking the little ones to Broadway shows. In a case of unfortunate placement, however, the article is rendered unbelievably gross by its proximity to another report: “Broadway Actor Denies Sex Charge.” Yet another peril. [NYT]
  30. intel
    Broadway Cares, But ‘The Color Purple’ Cares MostYesterday endeth the giving season on Broadway. Every year since 1988, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has asked the theater world to spend six weeks raising funds for the charity — hence all those post-ovation pleas for donations — and shows’ casts compete to raise the most dough. This year’s big winner was The Color Purple, which brought in $194,500 of the almost $3 million total. How do casts try to wring more money from their audiences? By offering for sale or auction all manner of services and tchotchkes. In 2003, most notably, Hugh Jackman, then in Boy From Oz, and Harvey Fierstein, then in Hairspray, faced off for the most coveted trinket: Jackman auctioned off his autographed, sweaty towel after each performance, while Fierstein promised to record an outgoing message for his highest bidder. (Jackman triumphed, bringing in more than $3 million.) Who was this year’s big draw?
  31. 21 questions
    ‘Company’ Star Raúl Esparza Spends His Days and Nights (Being Alive and) WorryingName: Raúl Esparza Age: 36 Job: Actor; Bobby in the Company revival that opened last night Lives: Upper West Side Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? Cynthia O’Neal, co-founder of Friends in Deed. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York? Brunch at Norma’s. In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job? Worry.
  32. cultural capital
    Dogs Laugh, Stars Swap, and Keillor PeesThe Little Dog Laughed is freshly opened, well-reviewed, and its star — Julie White — delivers one of the best performances in recent Broadway memory. So it’s the sort of show at which you expect you’ll run into boldfaced sorts. That it’s about show business — if, yes, viciously satirically — only increases the likelihood you’ll see Hollywood types. And, sure enough, last night’s crowd murmured with quasi-interest at the sight of a black-knit-cap-wearing Woody Harrelson in one row and a still-recognizable-despite-possibly-having-had-work-done Steve Guttenberg across the theater. When intermission came, the two stars gravitated toward each other (some sort of Cheers–Ted Danson–Three Men and a Little Lady connection, perhaps?). At which point they decided to switch seats. And dates. Neither man was the night’s biggest star attraction, however. That honor belonged to Garrison Keillor, who politely and patiently received good wishes from fans — even one elderly man who, while Keillor was pinned in the Cort Theater’s tiny men’s room, face to face with a urinal, took the opportunity to lean in and tell him, “My wife and I spend every Saturday night listening to your show.” And the occasional Wednesday night, apparently, watching him do something else. — Adam Sternbergh
  33. cultural capital
    ‘Chicago’ Tenth Anniversary Razzles and Dazzles We have seen gay heaven — or, at least, the older gentleman sitting in front of us at the Ambassador Theater, prone to wild clapping, spontaneous standing ovations, and a few outbursts of “Oh, my God! It’s Chita Rivera! It’s Chita Rivera!” has — and it looks like last night’s tenth-anniversary performance of Chicago, a benefit for Safe Horizons, in which every person who’s been in the revival’s cast either made a cameo appearance or performed an entire number. Who was there?
  34. in other news
    Nazis, ‘Cats’ Conspire Against Mendelssohn, PicassoLet’s say your parents force you to give away your puppy. A month later, you walk past a pet store and see Fido — and he’s unmistakably yours — in the window, for sale. It’s not a good feeling, and, ultimately, there’s not much you can do. Julius H. Schoeps is experiencing something similar, except his puppy is a Picasso. As auction season gets started, a Manhattan judge yesterday dismissed a suit in which Schoeps tried to stop Christie’s from selling The Absinthe Drinker; he says his great-uncle was forced to sell the work under duress because of Nazi persecution. The claim didn’t fly, Christie’s wanted to know why the heir waited 70 years to speak up, and the judge ultimately tossed the lawsuit on a technicality. The painting will be auctioned today, and it’s projected to fetch between $40 and $60 million. But what makes this all much more interesting is the cast of characters. The painting’s current owner is Andrew Lloyd Webber, who bought it through his charitable foundation in 1995. And Schoeps is a descendant of Felix Mendelssohn. So not only are judges, painters, and Nazis involved, but the whole business also has the strange auxiliary whiff of a Broadway tunesmith thumbing his nose at the phantom of a classical composer. It’s enough to put anyone in a blue period. Judge Refuses to Halt Auction of a Picasso [NYT] Houses on Fire [NYM]
  35. the morning line
    It’s Springtime for Hitler Kid • You’ve got to hand it to the Hitler Kid: After getting ejected from school for donning the costume on Halloween, yesterday he wore it again — this time for the media, and purely in protest. This is quickly turning into the lamest ACLU case ever. [NYP] • You do not cross American Girl Place. The Mattel-owned dainty emporium has filed a complaint against Actors’ Equity that says AEA has been goading its employees to unionize. This is going to be like On the Waterfront, except with Barbies. [NYDN] • ExamGate! Staten Island high-school administrators may have tampered with grades on Regents exams and directed teachers to do it as well. A whopping seventeen science teachers came forward with the accusations. Better late than never, we suppose (the exams were administered in June). On a lighter note, but on the same theme, a Brooklyn high-school principal has distributed a pie chart explaining her new grading system — with the slices totaling more than 100 percent. [NYT, NYDN] • A Bronx man is DOA at St. Barnabas after a police shootout. According to the cops, two plainclothes officers clearly saw the gunman armed and assaulting another man; the DOA fired first. [WNBC] • And, it’s beginners’ luck for the Knicks, who eked out their first win (against Memphis, 118-117) under coach Isiah Thomas. In a more disturbing portent, it took them three OTs to do so. [amNY]
  36. 21 questions
    Christine Ebersole Lives in the Suburbs (But Presumably Not in a Decrepit Mansion) Name: Christine Ebersole Age: 53 Job: Entertainer; Little Edie Beale in Grey Gardens, opening on Broadway tomorrow Neighborhood: I live at the Walter Kerr Theatre! Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? Jerry Gutierrez. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York? La Masseria. In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job? I’m in my pajamas all day so I can entertain at night.
  37. cultural capital
    On Visiting Grey Gardens We recently saw the new Broadway production of Grey Gardens, which opens Thursday night, and, without stepping on the formidably critical toes of our esteemed colleague Jeremy McCarter, we should say we liked it quite a lot. But we’re also forced to confess we’d never seen the famous 1975 Maysles brothers documentary of the same name, which brought the detailed Hamptons Gothic of Big and Little Edie Beale’s existence to a popular audience, and which subsequently became a cult — and camp — classic. (We know; the omission surprises us as much as it does you.) That oversight, however, was finally rectified last night, when we noticed Turner Classics was broadcasting the Maysles film. Now, then, a public-service announcement: Go see the documentary before you see the show. It’s not that the Broadway Grey Gardens doesn’t stand on its own; it does. And it’s not that Christine Ebersole isn’t impressive as Little Edie; she is. But to see Little Edie in 1975, and to see how Ebersole channels her onstage — well, wow. It’s a revelation we wish we’d had last week at the Walter Kerr, not last night on the couch. (And it wouldn’t hurt to read Gail Sheehy’s “A Return to Grey Gardens” in this week’s magazine. Turns out Gail befriended Little Edie back in the old days, and the piece gives, among other things, a valuable window on what in the musical is true and what isn’t so much.) A Return to Grey Gardens [NYM]
  38. cultural capital
    24-Hour Party People, on BroadwayAt The 24-Hour Plays Monday night, a starry group of actors, playwrights, and other show people — Jennifer Aniston, David Cross, Adam Rapp, Elizabeth Berkeley, Wallace Shawn — got together to write, direct, rehearse, and perform six plays in just one day’s time. It was a benefit for Working Playground, which brings arts programs to underserved New York City schools, and in addition to raising money, it gave its audience a night of unpolished but riveting entertainment. Some highlights …
  39. 21 questions
    All Charlotte d’Amboise Ever Needed Was the Music and the Mirror — and the Advil Name: Charlotte d’Amboise Age: 42 Job: Broadway dancer–actress–singer, currently Cassie in A Chorus Line Neighborhood: Harlem Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? Jacques and Carolyne d’Amboise. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York? Vinnie’s Pizza. In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job? Dance and take a lot of Advil.
  40. developing
    David Walentas, Neighborhood Creator and Patron of the Arts Is Downtown Brooklyn the new theater district? David Walentas, the developer famous for turning Dumbo from industrial wasteland into its present chichi incarnation, thinks so, and he’s willing to foot the bill to make it happen. The self-proclaimed “Pied Piper of Dumbo,” who’s taking his tune to 110 Livingston, the former Board of Ed headquarters he’s turning into condos, is offering at least ten years free rent to a theater group that takes up residence there. Walentas’s son, Jed, says they “think [having a theater] will be good for the neighborhood,” though it’s obviously not bad for business, either, to have apartments situated in a thriving, artsy area, which isn’t exactly what Downtown Brooklyn is — yet. Walentas previously worked the same M.O. in Dumbo, where he subsidized rents for St. Ann’s Warehouse, Smack Mellon Gallery, and Jacques Torres’s workshop to keep the neighborhood “edgy” (gruppy?) though decidedly upscale.