“IN HEAVEN an angel is nobody in particular,” said George Bernard Shaw.
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WELL, HERE on earth, angels tend to be somebodies of significance. The late Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, Cheryl Ladd, Tanya Roberts, Shelly Hack, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Cameron Diaz.
Miss Barrymore, who also produced the big screen version of “Charlie’s Angels” a few years back, will do the same for the coming TV reboot of the three crime-fighting femmes. The new girls will be Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor, and Annie Ilonzen. The role of Bosley, originally played by the somewhat sexless teddy-bear actor David Doyle, has been updated. The girls will now be protected by studly actor Ramon Rodriguez.
There has been a rumor that the voice of the unseen “Charlie” (John Forsythe in his pre-”Dynasty” days) will be taken by Robert “RJ” Wagner, who has a similarly distinct voice. My sources say RJ said no. But the creators, Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts really want him. And so does Drew. So we shall see. (Who can refuse Miss Barrymore?)
Over at CBS, the new “Hawaii Five-O” has enjoyed a great success. Now, ABC is hoping TV audiences will once again flock to their network to watch three gorgeous girls fight, shoot, and connive their way out of trouble. With standards far looser than back in the innocent 1970’s, Minka, Rachael and Annie are going to look hotter and talk tougher. (Have you ever watched a re-run of the old “Charlie’s Angels?” Girls on Disney shows appear more provocative today!)
Marcos Siega directs, and the trailer is already causing considerable excitement. It’s glamour, sex and women beating up anybody who looks shifty. What more can you ask for something that isn’t a reality show?
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THERE’S A battle royal gearing up in Britain, but it has nothing to do with those people in Buckingham Palace.
The enraged “royals” are actress Joely Richardson and her mother, the great Vanessa Redgrave. They have read excerpts from a new book on the family, “The House of Redgrave: The Secret Lives of the Theatrical Dynasty.”
Joely is especially incensed, and calls the portraits of her mother and father, Tony Richardson “caricatures.” She says when author Tim Adler approached the family, he assured them he was “embarking on this project because of my admiration for Tony.” However, the late Natasha Richardson “smelled a rat” and after her death, Joely and others in the family said they began to receive calls from Adler, who had changed the thrust of his book from a tribute to Tony Richardson to a tell-all about the entire family. Cooperation ceased.
Joely says the work appears to be a lot of “he said/she said of which the large percentage of the people are now dead. A useful tool in his case.” Further, on the subtext of her parents, she says, “The articles reduced my parents to the labels of ‘Bixsexual Father and Marxist Mother.’ Myopic to say the least. My mother for the last twenty years of her life would not call herself a Marxist but a human rights activist. In fact she has not been a member of any political party for decades. In the last two general elections she has voted Liberal Democrat. For the past 16 years she has been a Global Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. I am trying to ignore the emotional argument which I suppose could be purely personal. Does a woman who lost her eldest daughter, sister and brother within a year need to be reminded how she might have failed loved ones 30 years ago? Love her or loathe her, she is one of the greatest actresses of all time. My father’s bisexuality is a footnote, if anything. Not a headline of what defined his great contribution to the arts.”
Joely and Vanessa were also reeling from the insensitivity of the author’s claims that as her daughter Natasha lay in an irreversible coma, after a fall while skiing, that Vanessa sat by her bedside and sang “Edelweiss” to her. Joely says, “I asked my mother if this was true, as I had no memory of it, and it seemed a bizarre choice on every level. She said, ‘Darling, I don’t even know the words to it!’’
In any case, this not just angry talk. “As a family, we are taking legal action. To newspapers and publishing houses I urge the use of fact over fiction, freedom of the press, and responsibility at all times.”
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FREE THEATER: I wrote here at length about my prizewinning friend, Anne Berlin, who has won many awards in the difficult business of musical comedy writing. For instance, she came in first when her “Charlie Chang and the Giant Salami” catapulted her to off-Broadway fame.
Anne has written another incipient hit which you can go see on June 16 at New York City’s Robert Moss Theater, 440 Lafayette Street (between Astor Place and 4th Street; across from the Public Theater.) Free tickets can be secured here or call 1-866 –811-4111.
None other than twice-nominated Tony actress Mary Testa is going to star in a staged reading of Anne and her partner Andrew Bleckner’s “Howling Hilda,” a musical about baseball to end all. It has been directed by the divine taskmaster, Valentina Fratti. This is a true story about the Brooklyn Dodgers’ greatest real-life fan, Hilda Chester, set in the time of the Dodgers’ historic last season in New York . This is part of the Planet Connections Theater Festivity. There’ll be a wine reception after the reading to recognize the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League; former player Gene Visich of the Rockford Peaches will be there to share her baseball stories.
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Goodbye, our darling Oprah! Congratulations to you for changing so many lives for the better and becoming the greatest phenomenon on television.
As for the fact that her new creation, OWN, has not yet hit its stride and gloom and doom are projected, let’s just wait a minute and let Oprah catch her breath. I’m predicting OWN will become another Oprah hit! You don’t know how to find the new cable site on your TV? Just wait. Oprah will be telling you.
She has not yet begun to fight!