Thieves almost steal ‘Cabaret’s’ show

GOOD MORNING: The show must go on — oh yeah? What if the costumes and band instruments are swiped on the eve of the opening? That was the dilemma facing the “Cabaret” troupe at the Paramount theater in Seattle Sunday. Leading lady Joely Fisher (who plays Sally Bowles) tells me, “We almost called it off — but decided if we have to do it just with a piano we’d do it.” Costumes were quickly put together and Fisher announced apologies for the missing items to the opening audience. Fisher said they received a standing ovation at the finale. The incredible part of this theft was the ability of the culprit(s) to escape unnoticed with all that theatrical gear — plus laptops and other personal items from the cast, including 500 CDs from Fisher’s dressing room. Howcum she travels with all those CDs? “I like to make my dressing room my home,” she said. One cast member’s heirloom viola was among the stolen items. “We all felt like it was a violation. It was insane! First Seattle suffered the indignity of the World Trade Organization strike/strife, then cancellation of the city’s big New Year’s Eve party — and then this!” One of the items which had to be quickly improvised was the concentration camp uniform worn in the final scene by m.c. John Peterson … Also costarring with Fisher in the touring troupe is Jay Goede. They continue in Seattle through March 19 then on to Sacramento, Memphis, St. Louis, winding in Miami. Afterwards, Fisher says she’s sure she’ll return to series TV, following her successful run on “Ellen” plus bigscreen “Inspector Gadget.” Her mom Connie Stevens is readying her return to series TV with an NBC pilot in which she’s the mother of three girls.

WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND: When Bill Haber was a founding partner of CAA, one of his clients was writer Judith Paige Mitchell and one of her projects that he repped was “Glory,” for another Haber client, producer Aaron Spelling. Now Haber wings to L.A. (from his Save the Children offices in Conn.) to meet with Mitchell; he’ll produce her B’way-bound musical, “Storyville,” with music by Joel Higgins and Marty Silvestri. The show’s set in New Orleans’ famed 1910 legalized brothel compound, Storyville. The leading characters are a gorgeous quadroon madame of the maison de joie; Willie Dupree, a renegade soldier of fortune; Lee Christmas and several other colorful and historical characters. Haber, involved in several prospective B’way shows, is particularly enthused about this one; he says “The audience will have a great time.” He’s currently more involved with, and equally excited about, the upcoming opening of “The Green Bird,” the next legiter from Julie Taymor (“The Lion King”); Haber’s one of three producers and a major backer. “Bird” goes into rehearsals Feb. 11 for its April 18 bow at the Cort. Meanwhile, Mitchell (who recently married Jeremy Tarcher, widower of Shari Lewis) is also busy on a CBS pilot for Spelling, “Buzz” about four generations in p.r. She’s also completed a feature script, “Convictions,” for Fox 2000 and producers Ian Sander and Kim Moses. It’s about two women who go underground after a bombing in the ’60s. No, it’s not based on the headlines about former Symbionese Liberation Army soldier Kathleen Soliah … And talking “Lion King,” an open call audition for the L.A. company’s principals, ensemble singers and dancers will be held Saturday at the Henry Fonda theater on Hollywood Blvd. The show bows Sept. 28 at the Pantages, playing a limited engagement through June 30, 2001.

KARL MALDEN RETURNS TO TV, at his old stamping grounds WB, playing Father Cavanaugh, a priest who comes to visit “West Wing’s” President (Martin Sheen) about the death penalty. In the scene, Malden takes out a Bible — the one he used in “On the Waterfront” … Add TV alumni returns: Carl Reiner, who guested last season in “Family Law,” is back before the cameras again this week … Steve Allen, who was on L.A.’s KNX radio in the late ’40s and segued into NBC’s original “Tonight Show” 1953-56, was honored Tuesday as KNX Newsradio’s Man of the Year at the Century Plaza. The indefatigable Allen is already planning his 2000 “A Christmas Carol,” which had its successful bow at Theater West last year … Don Knotts gets his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame today. Five-time Emmy winner Knotts will be the Lifetime Achievement Honoree of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, Friday at the Sportsmen’s Lodge. Dais members include Allen, Louis Nye, Bill Dana, Hal Kanter, Tom Poston, Elinor Donahue, Sam Denoff, Aaron Ruben … Services for Carolyn Cohen, mother of screenwriter-director Larry Cohen and press agent Ronni Chasin, will be held Thursday 1 p.m. at Hillside … Alan Hunter, vet Foreign Press photo-journalist, is out of the hospital and recuping at home … Natasha Caine, daughter of Shakira and Michael Caine, is engaged to wed Lloyd’s of London exec Tim Scott, partnered with Ben Elliot, first cousin of Camilla Parker Bowles … Pierre Cossette, preparing his 30th Grammys (Feb. 23) at L.A.’s Staples Center, makes a quick/brief return to N.Y. to host his Super Bowl party Jan. 30 at Sardi’s. He used to hold the party at (the original) Chasen’s. Talking of Chasen’s, its famous chili — also now in chicken variety — is available in stores and Internet.

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