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Newman’s ‘Hole in the Wall’ raises money and hope for young people

GOOD MORNING: While celeb lists are being assembled for fundraisers to aid terrorism victims, there are other innocents who have always needed and will always require a helping hand. Among them are young people suffering from life-threatening ailments — those who are helped by Paul Newman and his (now five) Hole In The Wall Gang Camps. This week, Newman visited the camp in Paris, and Thursday the one outside London. On Nov. 19 at Avery Fisher Hall in N.Y., Newman, Joanne Woodward, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Kline, Brian Dennehy and Morgan Freeman, among others, will perform in A.E. Hotchner’s staged concert version of “The World of Nick Adams” based on Ernest Hemingway’s characters (which became the 1957 play, then the 1962 film “The Adventures of a Young Man”). Leon Slatkin will conduct the St. Luke’s orch in the show produced by Hotchner, directed by Frank Corsaro. A million dollars was raised for the Hole in the Wall Gang at Ashford, Conn., at the Sept. 8 performance of “Annie,” also produced by Hotchner. Playing Annie in a red wig was Paul Newman, with Tony Randall in drag as Miss Hannigan. Also appearing were James Norton and Michael J. Fox … A benefit recording sesh of “We Are Family” will be held Saturday at N.Y.’s Hit Factory to aid terrorism victims. The song, originally recorded in 1979 by Sister Sledge, was written by Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards. It will also be taped by both MTV and VH1. The singers: Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, Sheryl Crow, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Cyndi Lauper, Roberta Flack, John McEnroe, Michael & Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgewick, Liza Minnelli, the N.Y. Knicks, Molly Shannon, Matthew Modine, Andre Agassi and Placido Domingo. A session’s also being planned for Sunday in L.A., the site to be set for this group which already includes Seal, Kenny G, Russell Simmons and Sophie B. Hawkins.

A MAJOR MARKETING CAMPAIGN to bolster B’way will be announced today. It includes print, radio and TV. And all to be donated. Although his play “A Thousand Clowns” shutters Sunday, Tom Selleck has been busy promoting B’way attendance via a taped PSA and personal appearances on talkshows. Carol Burnett, who is returning to B’way, was on hand to catch Selleck Wednesday night … Gordon Davidson, who whisked back to N.Y. for the start of “QED” rehearsals with Alan Alda, now has a delayed opening: mid-November … “Reefer Madness” previews got under (delayed) way Tuesday night at the Variety Arts Theater in N.Y. It is again directed by Andy Pickman, winner of the L.A. Drama Crix Ovation award for the show. He told me that writers Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney have dramatically changed the second act. On hand for the first night’s performance were Lesley Stahl and husband Aaron Latham; their daughter Taylor L. is a member of Verna Harrah’s Middle Fork Prods., which is producing the play with the Nederlanders … While the very sensitive Garth Brooks has indefinitely postponed the release of his single “Beer Run” with George Jones, Brooks is going ahead with the three songs he sings in TNT’s “Call Me Claus” starring Whoopi Goldberg and Nigel Hawthorne (as Santa). The pic preems Dec. 2; the video and DVD, Dec. 11. About the single, Brooks says, “I just can’t find it in my heart to feel that ‘Beer Run’ is appropriate for right now. It saddens me, because one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received in music is this duet and George (Jones) is singing his ass off.”

THE WESTWOOD PREEM of “Meggido: The Omega Code 2” was canceled; it “preemed” instead in a prayer vigil on TBN (Trinity Broadcast Network), whose chief is Paul Crouch, father of the film’s producer Matthew Crouch. The airshow was headed by Dr. Robert Shuller and Jack Hayford; its finale was a showing of the final two minutes of the pic Crouch, fils, says it shows the triumph of good over evil. The “evil” (Satan) is played by Michael York in movie magic makeup. The President of the U.S. whom York kills (on a hillside overlooking Rome), is R. Lee Ermey; Michael Biehn plays the VP who succeeds him and who wins in the final battle with York. Producer Crouch tells me another film in the series is planned, this one, “The Millennial Reign.” Crouch claims he never considered delaying this pic’s release: “I want to get over a message of hope,” he sez … York and wife Pat were among the terrif turnout of literary lovers at the home of Caroline Singleton to kick off the Literary Odyssey Dinner, which will be held Nov. 5. It features writers as dinner attractions at some of the city’s most elegant homes. Michael Crichton, Carl Reiner, Sidney Poitier, Buzz Aldrin and Peter Bart are among ’em. As always, Gregory Peck and wife Veronique will kick off the event on the previous night (Nov. 4) with a reception at the Central Library, with dinner following at the California Club … Lew Rudin, one of New York’s giants, died Thursday after fighting cancer. Services will be held Sunday, 10 ayem at the Central Synagogue at 55th and Lexington … Among speakers at Thursday’s funeral of Sam Arkoff: Larry Gordon, Joe Roth, Monty Hall, Burt Topper and Sam’s children and grandchildren … Author Richard Hack, unable to launch the p.a. tour in N.Y. for his “Hughes, The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters,” will instead start at L.A.’s Book Soup, Monday Sept. 24 at 8 p.m.

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