Every day is opening night.

“I’ve Been to a Marvelous Party”

Our Town celebrates its one-year anniversary.


Ladies and Gents,

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there is simply nothing as glamorous as an evening at the Café Carlyle. I spent Tuesday night there at the opening of John Standing “Performing Noel Coward.” The room was filled to the brim with stars, socialites, and sophisticates of all ages, everyone dressed to the tens. Lord Charles Churchill, a man who needs no introduction, put the evening together and played host. Lord Churchill and I met once in the late 80’s when I ran into him (literally) at a party after losing a contact lens. With my blurred vision I mistook him for Michael Caine putting on a posh accent (Michael was such a prankster back then so it certainly wouldn’t have been out of character)—a mistake he quickly corrected. Anyway, I don’t think he recalled the faux pas, because he couldn’t have been more accommodating last Tuesday, making sure I was well situated in my favorite corner table. I spotted Tovah Feldshuh sitting with Krzysztof Kasprzyk, the Polish Consul General, and those trusty stalwarts of the theatrical press corps Jacques LeSourd and Susan Haskins. I was seated within earshot of Tony Nominee Euan Morton and Disney Theatricals head Thomas Schumacher. Morton has a mouth that could make a sailor blush, but in between expletives I heard him telling Schumacher how excited he is for Sondheim On Sondheim, in which the velvet-voiced Scotsman is featured. He was raving about the talents, work ethic and all-around loveliness of Sondheim headliner Barbara Cook. I also spotted the New York Post’s Aubrey Reuben drilling the wait staff on the evening’s wine selections. Karen Akers was across the room mingling with Mart Crowley, no doubt about the big gay smash hit restaging of The Boys in the Band. WOR’s David Richardson was nearby, enjoying what looked like a very romantic evening with his wife. And, as if all that wasn’t enough, halfway through Standing’s delightful set of Coward songs mixed with personal anecdotes, in walks Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. The original Fergie! The room was abuzz. Let me tell you all something—even Royals like to let their hair down once in a while and the Duchess is no exception. That girl knows how to have fun. At the end of the set, after a long and rousing ovation for Standing, she leapt onstage and grabbed the mic, “I only caught the last few minutes, but wasn’t that brilliant? Isn’t John brilliant? I hope you all realize how lucky you are to be able to see this. And you had all better come back every single night, and bring all of your friends, or I’ll kill you!” she told a truly stunned crowd. Now, a little about the show: go!  A more fun, relaxed and hilarious evening at the Carlyle I do not remember having. After the show, a few of us snuck into Bemelman’s Bar next door, so as not to let the evening end. When we entered, the dreamy Loston Harris (who was at the piano) struck up a few bars of Genesis’ “Duchess,” which tickled Fergie no end.

I ventured Off Broadway to the opening night of Blind at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater on Wednesday. It’s a retelling of Oedipus Rex, and features the most unbelievable sex scene with stars Veanne Cox and Seth Numrich that goes on for well over ten minutes! In less capable hands, this might come off as gratuitous, but not here (due in no small part to the downright smoldering sex appeal of Cox and Numrich).

Off Broadway was on the bill again the next night. I attended the one-year anniversary performance of Our Town. The new star of the show, Oscar nominee Michael Shannon, was remarkable! After the breathtaking performance, director David Cromer made a speech and we all ate cake. I was so honored to be among the S.R.O. crowd! A big congrats to everyone involved in the outstanding production.

Friday night I overindulged on fried chicken and beer (!) at Birdland while the Big Band blew the roof off the joint. I figured it would be a dead night, as the snow storm had all but shut down Manhattan. Boy was I wrong! The room was jam-packed. My favorite table, “Table #1,” was occupied and I was forced to sit elsewhere. The staff could read the disappointment on my face, and sent over a free round of drinks. Any disappointment melted away as soon as the band started in. What a sound! I cried, as I always do, during “The Rainbow Connection.”

I lunched with Harvey Fierstein after his “Today Show” appearance plugging the national tour of Fiddler on the Roof (he’s, naturally, playing Tevye). The appearance was grand, but I was disappointed he didn’t sing. I told him as much. What does he do? He growls, “Do you love me?” I reply, “Do I what?” Him again: “Do you love me?” and the next thing I know Mr. Fierstein and I are doing a full volume duet in the middle of Michael’s during lunch hour rush! I was so lost in the magic of the moment that it wasn’t until the entire restaurant gave us a standing ovation that I realized we were in public! The rest of lunch was a lovely book scene. Harvey is having a blast on the road. “Don’t you ever get homesick?” I wanted to know. “The theater is my home, cookie,” he replied.

Over the weekend I drove out to Hartford Stage see my old friend Amy Irving star in Motherhood Out Loud. The show is still in previews, and I was sworn to secrecy. All I’m going to say is I can’t wait to go back for opening night!

Last night I ran around town like a crazy person, as I had not one, not two, but three can’t miss events: Epic Theater Ensemble’s Gala, MCC Theater’s Miscast and the first installment of Jordan Roth’s “Broadway Talks.”  Kristen Johnston seemed to be in even a bigger rush than I when she arrived in a blur at the Epic Gala. Her date: a gigantic dog. Her ensemble: perfection! She posed for a few quick shots before taking the stage for the evening’s introductory speech. Then I sprinted to Miscast just in time to catch sight of honoree Julianna Margulies posing on the red carpet alongside those omnipresent MCC boys Will Cantler, Robert LuPone and Bernie Telsey. Blake West was nowhere to be seen. I placed a few bids on some auction items—it’s for a good cause, after all—before sprinting all the way uptown to the 92nd Street Y for “Broadway Talks.” Roth’s guest was Liev Schreiber, who is currently knocking ‘em dead each night in A View From the Bridge. It was such an insightful discussion! As someone who gets information out of celebrities for a living, I was awestruck by Roth’s laidback approach. Schreiber, who is no easy interview (trust me), opened up like a freshly-plucked tulip. Most apparent was Schreiber’s humility. He credits Arthur Miller’s text with all the merits of his performance. And I credit Jordan Roth for delivering such delightful, fresh and enlightening conversation!
Some tidbits from around town:

Spotted sportscaster Marv Albert getting onto the F Train. “Marv Albert rides the subway?!” I yelled. “It’s the quickest way to Coney Island,” he replied. Why he was going to Coney Island in February I dared not ask.

Kibitzed with Gary Cole waiting in line for the Love, Loss, and What I Wore in-store appearance at the Barnes and Noble at Lincoln Triangle.

Overheard Jennifer Lopez giggling like a school girl on a cell phone call on a bench at Rockefeller Center.

And finally, folks, that big piece of news that Joel Grey wouldn’t give me last week was finally announced. That bastion of high culture, the Steven Kasher Gallery, will be presenting a show of his cell phone photography called 1.3: New Color Images by Joel Grey from May 27 through July 10. Joel’s show will be running alongside an exhibition of some of the first color photos ever created, from the National Geographic archives, called Autochromes: Early Color Masterpieces from National Geographic. According to the rather heady press notes, “The simultaneous shows will juxtapose one of the newest forms of color photography with one of the earliest, and serve to highlight their surprising similarities.”  That sentence makes my head spin!  Also making my head spin?  The fact that yours truly scored an invite to the opening reception!

As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!