“FIRST COMES the sweat. Then comes the beauty — if you’re very lucky and have said your prayers,” said George Balanchine.
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50 MILLION PEOPLE CAN’T BE WRONG. That’s how many “Dancing Queens” (and Kings, Princes and Princesses) have seen the musical “Mamma Mia!” worldwide.
And I do mean world wide, as this irresistible musical recently opened in China. In the 13 years since this Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus’s show first opened in London, it has become a major global hit. One always wants to dance up the aisle at the finale.
And so it was last Tuesday at the Winter Garden that “Mamma Mia!” celebrated its first decade on Broadway. Mayor Bloomberg opened the evening by giving producer Judy Craymer a proclamation declaring October 18th “Mamma Mia! Day.” The audience could see the glorious movie and TV star Christine Baranski, grinning from ear to ear throughout. But the most fun I had was watching a small girl in front of me sit mesmerized. She never took her eyes off the stage and squeezed her mother’s hand in time to each of the numbers.
After the curtain came down, everyone thronged to the street where a stage had been erected and the wonderful cast in full costume sang an encore. And then BOOM! Fireworks. Yes, fireworks on Broadway. I tell you, this Judy Craymer really knows how to produce the most fun on Broadway. And that’s what I said about the show ten years ago. And it still is just that!
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RECENTLY, THE new world’s most distinguished cultural lecture expert, Rosamond Bernier, celebrated her “95th” birthday at the Century Club with her stepson, Olivier Bernier hosting. (Actually, the beautiful Rosamond is probably only 91, but she thinks age before beauty!)
She was her usual captivating self, sharp as a tack, sitting on a balcony to greet her guests. The distinguished writer Shirley Hazzard was by her side.
Shelley Wanger Mortimer was there to represent New York’s literary youth and Andre Leon Talley gave it all a Vogue touch.
Rosamond’s new book from Farrar, Straus & Giroux is Some of My Lives: A Scrapbook Memoir. It touches, of course, on her relationships with Picasso, Miro and Matisse to name a few. And she runs down memory lane with her days at European Vogue and at L’Oeil, the art magazine.
There is simply no one like this magnificent woman whom we named, not long ago, a “Living Landmark” of the New York Conservancy. I adore it that she dedicates Some of My Lives to her late husband, John Russell, the great art critic of the New York Times. “Every word is for John,” says Rosamond. And there she is on the cover, in a satin bed somewhere, looking glam.
She still does! Rosamond, you naughty girl, lying about your age.
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Maury Hopson is the well-known hairdresser who ministered to my “looks” at the recent Annie Leibovitz photo shoot of me on the horse Blondie in Times Square. (You can see it in November’s Vanity Fair, if you care.)
During the shoot, while I was back in the saddle again, they kept a wind machine on me and out of sight on the side, Maury was jumping up and down, yelling at Annie’s minions, “You’re ruining my hair!”
Maury was at the recent Elizabeth Taylor memorial in L.A., and he writes me this P.S.
“I did love all the grandkids speaking about their ‘Grammah.’ It was lovely to see their parents too. I have known all of them since they were that same age! And one of my favorite parts of the event was the video montage that photographer Firooz Zahedi created, ending with the freeze frame of her at about age six. It’s just not the same world without Elizabeth Taylor!” And the lavender carpet laid down for guests at Warner Studios was a great touch!
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P.S. Rabid Elizabeth fans have noted that at least one piece of her famous jewelry collection is missing from the upcoming Christie’s auction. I do mean the spectacular 29 ½ carat emerald cut diamond ring, presented to Miz Liz by Mike Todd. (At the time, Elizabeth commented, “Mike thought 30 carats would be vulgar!”)
This was a beautiful stone; much more beautiful in fact than the bigger, more famous, 33 carat square-cut Krupp diamond, which is up for sale. Some say Elizabeth sold the Todd ring, along with the massive Cartier/Burton diamond (a whopping 69 carats), during her marriage to John Warner to help pay for his Senate campaign expenses. Others think the gem is still in the family, perhaps owned by Mike and Elizabeth’s daughter, Liza Todd.
Speaking of Liza, she looked fabulous at her mother’s memorial service. She has cut her thick mane of hair short, and allowed it to go gray. Dressed in vintage Pucci, she was by far the most striking woman at the event. (Her eyes are perhaps even more mesmerizing than Elizabeth’s.)
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ENDTHOUGHT: Yes, she has brought it all on herself, but I still can’t help but feel for Lindsay Lohan, once again handcuffed in court on charges of violating her probation terms. (She posted $100,000 bail, was freed and will return to court on Nov 2. for sentencing.) Even sadder than Lohan’s willful refusal to live up to her responsibilities was her appearance — the bleached out hair, the terrible make-up job that only enhances her gaunt face.
Lindsay’s so-called parents should be ashamed of themselves. But I don’t think they are capable of such emotion, and they have taught their daughter well — she, too, has no sense of shame. Just a childish air of entitlement that has brought her to ruin.