"Jupiter enters Leo for a year -- a boon for theatrical types of all persuasions!" writes our smart astrologist friend Shelley Ackerman.
So, you take heart, my friends in show business.
• SPEAKING OF this possibly being a very good year, the great actor Stacy Keach certainly thinks it might be!
In June, Stacy will play Falstaff in both parts of Shakespeare's "Henry IV" at the Shakespeare Theater in Washington DC. The kicker to this is Stacy played the same role 46 years ago. He says, "I might be wrong, but I think I may be a candidate for the Guinness Book of Records. When I played it back in 1968 in Central Park, I was 27. I received some very good reviews. Now I'm 72--reverse the numbers, but the role remains the same!" (Newsweek referred to Keach as a "Grand Young Man" in its review.)
Stacy Keach is grand. I had a wonderful interview with him about a year ago. He is most famous for tough guy roles, but in real life he is adorably gentle, funny and smart. He's had an amazingly prolific career in theater, movies and TV. He also narrates a number of true crime programs and has been the voice of several animated characters, including one on "The Simpsons."
• "Henry IV" is to be directed by Michael Kahn. In the meantime, Keach will travel to L.A. to appear in an episode of "Sean Saves the World." Mr. Keach is nothing if not eclectic.
• IN 1986 PRODUCER Terry Hodge Taylor was producing the annual Fred and Adele Astaire Awards for the best of Broadway dancing at the Plaza Hotel. He says he had secured the fabulous star Ginger Rogers to fly in and present winner choreographer Bob Fosse as an honoree. A week before the event, he had no word from Fosse , but finally reached his office and was told: "Mr. Fosse does not attend these awards events!"
Mr. Taylor was stunned. He stammered, "But I have Ginger Rogers to present the award in person." Silence on the Fosse end. "We'll call you back." Pretty soon Terry was called and told, "Mr. Fosse will be happy to attend." He did.
What Terry had not known was that Ginger had been Bob Fosse's idol while he worked in Hollywood. She presented to Fosse in a flowing antebellum yellow gown that matched her mass of blonde hair. Fosse was so thrilled.
Nowadays, Terry Hodge Taylor runs the Theater Hall of Fame. This annual event happens January 27th and Joel Grey will host. The presenters at the North Rotunda of the Gershwin Theater are to be Sarah Jessica Parker...Zach Quinto, Phylicia Rashad, Robert Wankel, Jack Viertel, John Guare, Betty Buckley. The famous to be taken in are George Wolfe, Ellen Burstyn, Çherry Jones, Lynne Meadow, Jerry Zaks.
• EVEN before that big event, Jan. 20th at 8 p.m. sees a presentation of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: An Intimate Conversation with Carol Channing and Justin Vivian Bond" at Town Hall, 123 West 43 Street. This coincides with the 50th anniversary of that perennial hit "Hello, Dolly!" And the great one and only star, Miss Channing, will be celebrating her 93rd birthday with champagne onstage after. Call Jaron Caldwell at 212 - 695 7400.
• I HAVE always liked Kathie Lee Gifford and I like her husband, Frank Gifford even more. But who knew KLG could be so funny⁄? In her column with the delightful Hoda Kotb, wherein they dish for the Daily News about their Today Show adventures, KLG says this of Charlie Sheen: "There's a very big difference between sitting on top of the world and sitting on top of a porn star." Brava!
•DON'T BE frightened if, while you are dining at a Manhattan restaurant, things begin to levitate, or a man appears and reads your mind--accurately!
Relax, it's only Josh Beckerman, "The Foodie Magician." I've seen Beckerman in action. It was a few months back and he was performing at a party where Cher appeared briefly--she was promoting her latest CD. Josh was most amusing. However, he was smart enough not to levitate anything near Cher or attempt to read her mind. I mean, he could have read her mind. But then she would have had to kill him.
Josh also writes a popular blog, "The NYC Foodie."
• Although she lived a good long life, I was sad to hear of actress Juanita Moore's passing last week.
Moore made a number of films, but she is rightly best remembered for 1959's "Imitation of Life," playing Lana Turner's selfless, self-sacrificing maid. What a performance! Her scenes with the excellent young Susan Kohner are heart-breaking. Moore and Kohner were the soul of "Imitation of Life." Lana was fine in the film--which looked suspiciously like scenes from her own life--but the Misses Moore and Kohner wiped the floor with "Lanita" (As gangster Johnny Stompanato used to refer to her.)
One of the films' best scenes comes when Lana, as the self-absorbed actress Lora Meredith, expresses surprise that her maid, Annie, has so many friends. "I never knew," says Lora/Lana, cluelessly.
"Miss Lora, you never asked," replies Annie, kindly, but getting the point across. (The hotel room confrontation between Moore and Kohner--the latter is determined to pass for white--followed by Annie's funeral, with Mahalia Jackson wailing "Trouble In The World" are shattering screen moments.)
RIP Juanita Moore. You are responsible for floods of audience tears generation after generation.