I KNOW what it is to be bad. I've been bad."
That line in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, spoken by the female character, Karen, has always been difficult to utter, unless you're--Judi Dench or Meryl Streep. It often evokes titters from an audience.
Back in 1988, when Madonna made her one and only appearance on the legit stage as an actress, the vehicle was this famous play. Madonna was already being criticized (unfairly, I thought) for her film performances, few as they were, at that point. She was fine in Speed-the-Plow, if not inspiring. But when she got to, "I've been bad," snickers abounded.
Now, Lindsay Lohan has made her stage debut, in London with this Mamet play. The long-troubled actress has a lot more riding on this venture than Madonna. She never gave up her "day job" as a pop singer/cultural icon/thorn-in-the-side provocateur.
Lindsay's initial reviews have been "meh." She appeared to be shaky on some lines, and didn't exactly set the stage ablaze. At least one reviewer, noting her nerves, nevertheless said she handled herself "charmingly." However, as with Madonna, when Lindsay had to utter, "I've been bad, etc," the East End audience hooted.
Look, Lindsay defied the naysayers by simply showing up on opening night, apparently quite sober. This has taken a lot of guts. Maybe things are turning around for this talented girl so beset by life.
•SPEAKING OF Madonna, the writer Matthew Rettenmund is trying to fund an updated 20th anniversary edition of his famous Encyclopedia Madonnica. This is one of the most spot-on erudite, funny valentines from a fan to his idol ever. If all goes as planned, Matthew will update from where he left off in his original Madonnica--quite a task.
Madonna hadn't yet done Evita, become a mother (four times!), married again, won a Grammy, entered the world of international charity with her Malawi work, divorced again, enraged or delighted fans with her continuing embrace of techno dance music. Matthew is also the author of the well-regarded novel Boy Culture and blogs on BoyCulture.com
•Rosie O'Donnell looked very glamorous when she came onstage at the Marriott Marquis the other night to launch her big successful Rosie's Kids show fundraiser.
After remarks about how she and wife, Michelle live with four teenagers and a 20-month-old-baby--(Rosie said she had baby to remind herself that she did like children after all.) - Rosie made a few wisecracks satirizing her quarrelsomeness on TV's The View. This was along the lines of how she "doesn't get along with anybody, including my good friend, Whoopi Goldberg." She went on and presented a great show of teenage talent and raised over a million dollars. This is some formidable lady! No wonder ABC wanted her back.
•I HAVE written about Rosie's Kids before and how amazing Rosie O'Donnell is in giving underprivileged talented New York teens an initiation into theatre. Most of her "students" have never gone to Broadway or off- Broadway. They are usually struggling to get enough to eat, to stay in school, to learn while coping with underpaid, overworked parents; usually mothers.
When Rosie transports them to their first theater musicals, they think they will have to stand in back, or sit in folding chairs to experience the magic of music and dance and drama. They are astounded to sit in what they call "the velvet seats."
And soon, through Rosie's friends who volunteer makeup, costumes, choreography, music and direction, they quickly grow "professional." (It seems to me, they all can really sing and dance!) These very young people put on a wonderful show, filling the stage.
Rosie quickly disposed of the live auction that night (the bane of most charity events) and simply asked audience members to stand and volunteer giving amounts large and small. The audience obliged.
The honorees: Cyndi Lauper, the Medusa of the blonde curly locks and a Tony winner for Kinky Boots, and the wunderkind Jordan Roth, head of Jujamcyn Theaters, were honorees this night.
Big bucks were given by such as Jordan's brilliant producer mother, Daryl Roth...the multi-Tony-winning director Tommy Tune...the Times' reporter Jacob Bernstein who has grown a beard...the Theater's Nederlander clan, generous to the max...Whoopi's devout manager-producer Tom Leonardis, who said he'll soon be single for the first time in ages... the super talented actor B. D. Wong...loyal producer Judy Abrams...a Rosie backer, the very rich Leslie Ziff who made a philanthropic name in ballet and with the Kids...and the beautiful Mary Fisher who led the AIDS fight in the "bad old days" when she got AIDS from her husband and it was thought there was no cure. (She suffered some of her best friends shunning her.)
•"COME UP AND SEE me sometime!" is what most movie buffs think Mae West said to Cary Grant in She Done Him Wrong.
I, myself, think I know a lot about movies old and new but I'm not too "buff" about it.
Usually, I am corrected by diligent readers, film historians and even my own aide-writer-helper, Manhattan-born Denis Ferrara.
But in showing Denis a movie postcard this week reading "Why don't you come up sometime and see me?" He laughed and said, "This card has it wrong. There's more to the quote."
Well, what did the divine Mae West say to Cary Grant? The full quote is: "Why don't you come up sometime and see me. I'm home every evening!"
Later, after the line became famously misquoted, Mae herself used it in a subsequent film and nightclub appearances.