GOOD MORNING: I got a sneak preview of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s London production of “Sunset Blvd.”– thanks to pal Ann Miller who attended Monday p.m.’s first performance before an audience at the Adelphi. Her reaction: “It’s worth flying over just to see it.” Even though there are, of course, legitimate bugs to be ironed out pre-July 12 opening. F’rinstance the onstage swimming pool sprung a leak and couldn’t be used for the demise of Joe Gillis, played originally by Bill Holden and now, on the stage by Kevin Anderson. “So she (Patti LuPone) shot him and he died onstage,” reported Miller, who added of the entire legit version, “I’m sure Billy Wilder will be very pleased. And Patti knocked me out.” LuPone beat out Miller for a Tony with her “Evita” vs. Miller’s “Sugar Babies” performance and they’ve been pals ever since. And Annie admits, “What I wouldn’t give to play this (Norma Desmond) part!” Miller predicts the “With One Look” tune will be a giant hit. I heard Sarah Brightman, Webber’s ex, preview it here at a benefit — and agree the song is a show stopper — anywhere. As for the “Sunset” sets, Miller says, “They all move”– and they apparently are now working. The “movers” include a giant living room set and the famous long staircase down which Norma Desmond descends and delivers her (Billy Wilder’s) famous line, “I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille.” Miller remarked, “In some spots, she (LuPone) even looks like Swanson! The costumes (Anthony Powell) are magnificent. The sets (John Napier) are spectacular.” She complimented the rest of the cast, Meredith Brown as the ingenue (originally played by Nancy Olson), Daniel Benzali as Max Von Mayerling (originally Erich Von Stroheim), and director Trevor Nunn. After Monday’s initial public preview performance, Webber was in “such great spirits” in LuPone’s dressing room, “so proud of her,” reports Miller. “It all worked” (except the swimming pool). Today, Miller hostessed a lunch for LuPone in London’s Ivy restaurant in the heart of the theater district … Ann is visiting England as the guest of Georgia Frontiere and they continue on to the Continent aboard the Orient Express from Budapest to Vienna and Paris … On her return to the U.S., Miller’s readying to join the Home Shopping Network’s star roster — with her line of costume jewelry. What about a hosiery line for those Miller gams?“JUST ONE THING — do something with your hair, Lyle.” That was the T-shirted welcoming message worn by Julia Roberts’ “Pelican Brief” crew on her return yesterday from the brief honeymoon. And, in the scene in which she was supposed to be talking off camera on the phone to Wesley Snipes — guess who’s voice came on to her? Yeah, director Alan Pakula arranged for Lovett to phone his bride … And talking of phones, Julia’s ICM agent Elaine Goldsmith’s phone was ringing off the hook here yesterday when pals read Jeannie Williams’ USA Today story of the wedding noting that Goldsmith caught Roberts’ bridal bouquet and left “no doubt Roberts would be on hand if Goldsmith weds beau, attorney Daniel Thomas.” As of yesterday, no new wedding bells to report … The news was monopolized Tuesday with space devoted to Roberts’ wedding and Tom Cruise’s hand/footprints at Mann’s Chinese and the successful preem of “The Firm.” Cruise also carried on cooperative conversations all over the tube through the night. Cruise and wife Nicole Kidman certainly made it easy for the army of photogs on hand at the screening and creative post-party catered by Ambrosia. … Also getting blinding flash reaction from the lensers was Sharon Stone, who yesterday filmed her TNT Jean Harlow docu hostint wearing slinky, silky Valentino all-black and all-white gowns, Harry Winston gems and Harlow hairdo to match the period. What perfect casting. Stone just wound “Intersection” and gets a vacation before jumping into the saddle for “The Quick and the Dead”… Cruise does not have a start date on a next project but among those being readied for his heroics is “City Hall.” And there’s continued talk of a “Top Gun” sequel. ROBERT EVANS CELEBRATED his birthday (63) with ex-wife Ali MacGraw and their son Joshua last night in Palm Springs. Evans has been holed up in the desert and remains another fortnight to complete his autobio, “The Kid Stays in the Picture” (Simon & Schuster, the publishing house owned by Par). He admits he’s had to change the last chapter, but says he’s totally innocent of the latest charges against him. The bio, he elaborates, “is also the story of Paramount and a half-century of the movie business — from Barney Balaban to the present, from an art form to a computer form, from making movies to making release dates.” The main reason for writing the book, he admits –“I wanted my son to know who his father really is.” Evans’ pact with Par is intact and scripts are in the works for his “Saint,””Phantom” and “Jade.” (Bill McDonald is not associated with Evans any longer) … Universal parties senior photo editor Frank Rodriguez Thursday, as he retires after 40 years in the biz. He started with “Davy Crockett” at Disney and wound with “Jurassic Park”… And Connie Roth retires Friday after 45 years at Columbia.
2016-2017 Oscar Predictions
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