Radio City Music Hall ramps up for Tonys

GOOD MORNING: The ramp to the Titanic would lead to nowhere — we’re talking about the set of B’way’s “Titanic,” whose ramp leads offstage during the musical, but which would hang out in space during the Tonys. This Sunday’s kudocast will be held at the Radio City Music Hall, whose proscenium opens up 100 feet; twice the width of most legit stages, reminds Gary Smith, Tony Awards show producer. The width has created problems for the sets of shows that will be featured. Smith said, “Roy Christopher had to design a set to close in to the participating musicals’ sets — and then open up to the full stage for the awards recipients. It was part of the challenge for Christopher (who’s worked on 20 shows with Smith), who has done it in a very clever way.” Smith said the RCMH stage “looked incredible” Wednesday as TV was readying B’way’s night of honors. The Tonys this year will take a page from the Oscars (and other movie award shows) by showing star arrivals. The entrances will be seen by the RCMH audiences and will air on the opening hour of the awards show on PBS — which will be followed by a two-hour CBS telecast. The Tonys this year are dedicated to the late Bernard Jacobs, president of the Shubert Org. … Meanwhile, out here, big Tony doings are shaping up at the Palladium’s live feed, the Tony Telecast Party, where nominee Julie Harris (“The Gin Game”) will be honored. Harris (71) wings in for the tribute Sunday, returns to her show Monday. Harris, five-time Tony winner (also two Emmys, one Grammy) receives the lifetime achievement award from the Actors’ Fund and Aid for AIDS and it will become the annual “Julie” award. Charles Nelson Reilly, nominated for directing “The Gin Game,” makes the presentation to her at the Palladium; he and Rita Moreno host the event. Among those attending is Patrick Duffy, who made his TV bow with Harris in “The Last of Mrs. Lincoln.” Also here will be George Chakiris, Tyne Daly, Michael Jeter, Roddy McDowall, Jean Stapleton, etc.

THE TOUGHEST SKETCH I’ve ever had to learn,” said Jack Lemmon as he and Walter Matthau phoned from Loew’s Santa Monica Beach Hotel, where they are rehearsing for the Writers Guild Foundation’s “Words Into Pictures” film-TV forum, which runs Friday-Sunday. The duo will perform I.A.L. (Izzy) Diamond’s “Quizzically” sketch Saturday to an audience expected to top 1,000. Lemmon and Matthau have performed the hysterically true-to-life sketch three times previously to standing ovations at Writers Guild functions. The setting is two writers debating the use of the word “quizzically” as they write a script. Matthau said he and Lemmon are performing it again “Because writers need charity along the way.” Lemmon promised that Walter will ad lib only one line! This outing could be a warmup for their “Odd Couple” sequel, starting June 9. Lemmon, who recently wound MGM/Showtime’s “12 Angry Men” for Billy Friedkin with George C. Scott, is now talking an outing with Scott on stage in “Inherit the Wind” at Chichester … Ed Pressman’s Film Corp. acquired film rights to Patricia Bosworth’s “Arbus” (Kropf). Pressman and Bonnie Timmerman will produce, Alessandro Camon exec produces. Bosworth’s current work “Anything Your Little Heart Desires” is the story of her father, Bartley Crum, one of the defenders of the Hollywood 10.

CARL REINER WAS ONE of those laughing loudest — and he was the m.c. — of the 24th annual Carl Reiner Pro/Am Celeb Tennis & Golf Tourney Gala at La Costa, which raised over $125,000 for the ERAS Center. Next year is the 25th anni and Carl hopes to reunite there with Mel Brooks; their CD and book, “The Wit and Wisdom of the 2,000-Year-Old Man (for the Millennium)” will be out by then. Gloria and Mike Franks again headed the event for ERAS topper Barbara Cull. The young comics who had the audience rolling in the aisles: Barry Diamond, Bobby Slayton, Hiram Kasten, Heath Hyche, Jeffrey Jena, Jim Lauletta, Allan Havey, Wendy Kamenoff and Steve Mittleman. Also at La Costa was Berry Gordy, who confirmed that Mike Ovitz relinquished his offer to buy Berry’s Malibu home ($5.7 million, asking) so his former CAA partner, now MCA’s topper, Ron Meyer could take over the buy offer… Newlyweds Patrick and Jackie Terrail’s wedding party at Jimmy’s (Murphy’s) restaurant was one for the memory books, with longtime friends recalling the happy Hollywood days and nights at Ma Maison. The wedding dinner menu, written on chocolates, featured dishes from L.A.’s leading chef-restaurateurs. And yes, there was even a good luck greeting from (the absent) Wolfgang Puck, who got his start at Patrick’s Ma Maison. Among those toasting: Bob Morris, Ed McMahon, Jean Paul Vignon, KABC radio’s Michael Jackson, and Jimmy Murphy, who credited Terrail with being one who got restaurant business in L.A. started.

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