Liz Smith: Andrew Lloyd Webber Knows “Love Never Dies”

And more from our Gossip Girl: Luis Fernando Romo goes gown shopping … “The Artist” leaves England speechless … Kristin Chenoweth brings out the stars at the Pierre Hotel

“LOOK, I’m forty, I’m single, I work in musical theater. You do the math!” said Nathan Lane.

Love, love, love that award-winning Nathan.

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BUT NOW I want to welcome one of my favorite other creative forces back to New York. Broadway often flourishes because of this composer, yet at the same time keeps giving him the back of its hand.

I do mean that the one and only Andrew Lloyd Webber is coming to Manhattan. Wait for it. Because of his close friendship with Barbara Walters, Andrew has selected her show, “The View” as his chief television exposure.

I was entertained this week by a fabulous lunch at Michael’s, where the Dover sole is the finest thing on the menu. I was with CNN’s saucy correspondent Alina Cho and the PR expert Peter Brown (once with the Beatles, now guiding Andrew Lloyd Webber).

Mr. Brown shapes opinions all over the world. Iit is his British idea that the much-vaunted theory, which holds that the United States produced and invented the musical comedy of today, is incorrect. He says musical theater was born in the West End of London and only the interruption of World War II allowed U.S. music makers to develop what already existed. (Englishmen were then fighting for survival, not for a good box office.)

Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose “Phantom of the Opera” is still singing from world stages — 24 years in New York alone! — is going to mount his “Phantom” sequel, titled “Love Never Dies.” It has already been filmed for a cinema audience in Australia. Broadway considered Lloyd Webber’s sequel to “Phantom” to be a dead dog. Cynics and critics thought they might escape coping with it. In English tryouts, the show received a dim reception. But I think everybody has another “think” coming when it comes to “Love Never Dies.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber is full of surprises, and although the New York Times is in love only with composer Stephen Sondheim, this bigtime English rival can probably bring us another commercial and popular hit. We’ll see.

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OUR FRIEND (and good source) in Spain, Luis Fernando Romo, has sent us pictures of something he recently bought. Although Luis is a strapping guy, he purchased a tiny black velvet Nolan Miller gown with sparkly trim running across the neckline and one sleeve.

The gown was one of many Elizabeth Taylor items up for auction at Christie’s, and Luis is a big fan of the late movie goddess. Elizabeth wore this dress most memorably at the 1984 Golden Globes, when she received the Cecile B. DeMille award. She was a size six and Hollywood’s elite went berserk when she appeared at the ceremony. (Newly re-habbed, she had not been so slender in ten years.)

Luis also purchased the elaborate green caftan Elizabeth wore to Malcolm Forbes’ 70th birthday party in Morocco. How well I recall that event! Elizabeth was plumpish again, but super glamorous, with her enormous, intricate Alexandre de Paris hairstyle and her eye-popping jewels. Her bad temper was also amusing. She wearied of standing and greeting Malcolm’s hundreds of guests. “Have you ever been to anything like this before?” I asked the star, warily. “No” she said, giving Malcolm a look Medusa would have envied, “And I never will again.” (Malcolm gave her some more jewelry and she calmed down.)

Luis intends to re-sell the outfits at a Spanish auction, benefiting people with HIV/AIDS. Miss Taylor would approve!

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In London, those sometimes jealous-of-the-French Brits are now and then going back to the box office after seeing the new silent film, “The Artist,” and asking for their money back. They miss dialogue.

Seems a few people in Liverpool, Manchester and London have been asking for money back after they realize that it is a silent film. One Liverpool theater put up a sign that you had to protest in the first ten minutes.

This wonderful movie won three Golden Globes, 12 BAFTAs, a director’s accolade, and will probably do well at the Oscars.

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AN invitation with a beautiful photo of the talented Kristin Chenoweth comes in the mail, touting a once-in-a-lifetime all-star show at the Pierre Hotel on Feb. 6th honoring the singing ingénue.

The names on this one range from Nora Ephron to Allison Janney to Joe Mantello to Kathleen Marshall to Dolly Parton to Susan Stroman to Swoosie Kurtz to Nicole Kidman — and the really big names who are entertaining that night. They include Donna Murphy, Joel Grey, Elaine Paige, Laura Benanti, Cheyenne Jackson, Marlo Thomas, Marni Nixon and cast members from the “Wicked” musicals. They are adding talent by the day. Call 212-244-9494 and help out the Drama League Directors Project.

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Today people are living longer, and the younger generation feels that “old age begins at 54.” These same youngsters believe that “youth ends at 41.” (If you ask octogenarians, however, they say that old age starts at 68 and youth ends at 52.)

3 comments so far.

  1. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    What is it with me and Gay celebrity men?

    Why am I attracted to them? I’m a straight woman, so I wouldn’t have a shot from that vantage point. Not to mention we will never meet, so that too is a bit of a wrinkle.   Yet I really am physically and emotionally attracted to actors Sean Hayes, Alan Cumming, Jim Rash and big time…..Nathan Lane! :o ) 

    Go figure, no wonder my dating life is a mess!   

  2. avatar D C says:

    Dang!  Even to an octogenarian I’m old today.  POOP!  I’m still telling everyone I’m 39 again (for the 13th time)
    “(If you ask octogenarians, however, they say that old age starts at 68 and youth ends at 52.) “

  3. avatar maytaguide says:

    So, what is the transitional period between youth and old age called?