THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT -- January 1998
STREETCAR/CABARET CELEBRATIONS: As of Dec. 3, it was been 50 years since A Streetcar Named Desire made its celebrated stop at the Barrymore Theatre on Broadway. To mark the spot, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center had Kim Hunter over to reminisce about that drama. She made her Broadway debut as Stella Kowalski and won an Oscar for repeating the part on film. . . . Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey showed up for the screening marking the 25th anniversary of their Oscar-winning vehicle, Cabaret. Grey earned a Tony for it 30 years ago. Let the record show that Minnelli went out for the Broadway version, and even though she auditioned with a special Kander & Ebb song ("Maybe This Time"), director Hal Prince turned her down because he felt she was too young and inexperienced. "What about Flora, the Red Menace?" asked Minnelli. (That had already won her a Tony.) "You were lucky," said Prince, who wasn't nearly as lucky going with Jill Haworth as Sally Bowles. "Maybe This Time" didn't surface again until Minnelli did it in the movie.
APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE: "I read George Jean Nathan every week," the knowing Eve Harrington (of All About Eve infamy) loved to boast, so she would doubtlessly be in seventh heaven over the Applause publication of The World of George Jean Nathan. It features selected essays and reviews by the famed drama critic. Seconding that motion, Applause is also coming out with the first biography on Nathan: The Smart Set: George Jean Nathan and H.L. Mencken by Thomas Quinn Curtiss, long-time drama and cinema critic of the International Herald Tribune. . . . Theatre's present and future tenses are likewise being covered by Applause, via Theatre on the Edge: New Visions, New Voices in which The New York Times's Mel Gussow writes knowingly of Sam Shepard, Whoopi Goldberg, Lanford and Robert Wilson, Charles Ludlam, Richard Foreman and Martha Clarke.
I'M JUST WILD ABOUT HARRIS: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein threw open the portals of her posh Central Park West pad for a book party honoring the just-published (by Heinemann) Eight Women of the American Stage: Talking About Acting. Author Roy Harris, by night, stage-managed his fair share of Wasserstein's works (An American Daughter, The Sisters Rosensweig and The Heidi Chronicles) . . . . Daniel Sullivan, who directed those three plays, will helm the movie version of The Sisters Rosensweig. Sullivan's movie debutJon Robin Baitz's The Substance of Fire, with Ron Rifkin and Sarah Jessica Parker from the original cast and Timothy Hutton and Tony Goldwyn for commercial glitternever found its audience in theatres; maybe video. . . . William (Falsettos) Finn flicked off a little song for the Rosensweig play about the Scarlet Pimpernel, and now that that is a musical, he's going to have to come up with a new one for the movie version. -- By Harry Haun