Williams to conduct symphony for ‘E.T.’s’ 20th

GOOD MORNING: This will be a musical movie first –“a feat of timing and — a big challenge.” It’s John Williams talking about the live symphony orch (85) he’ll conduct on stage at the Shrine Saturday for festivities noting the 20th anniversary of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.” He’s marked 1,200 musical cues to follow on a small monitor alongside his podium as the film unspools on a giant screen above and in front of him. But before the film rolls, he will also conduct a special overture he’s written for the occasion. And as Williams and musicians play, Sean Murphy and Andy Nelson will be sitting at a mixing panel –“as we go,” noted Williams. Sure, he’s conducted scores while silent films (like “Napoleon”) played on screen, but Williams believes never has a score been taken out of a film and replaced by its live performance as will happen Saturday. “Sure it’s very difficult,” Williams admits, “but it’s an opportunity I couldn’t resist.” It was the idea of Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, admits Williams. He and Steven have worked together 30 years — since “Sugarland Express.” “A.I.,” for which he is again nominated, is, he says, his 41st nom! And he’s now composing his 20th for Spielberg, “Minority Report,” and follows with “Catch Me if You Can,” which Spielberg recently started with Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio … Worth noting here is Daily Variety‘s 1982 “E.T’ review by Todd McCarthy that stated, “enough cannot be said for John Williams’ score, which stands as a model of film composing — although it is almost continually present, it’s also practically unnoticeable, so well does it both complement and further the events onscreen” … Williams is also particularly happy to be involved with the preem as it benefits the Special Olympics. He wrote its theme, “We’re Looking Good,” with Alan and Marilyn Bergman on special request from Eunice Shriver 20 years ago. And it was first played as medals were given Special Olympians at Blair House by then “Superman” Christopher Reeve.

IT’S ALSO ANNIVERSARY TIME for “The Godfather” — this week celebrating (any plans?) the 30th anniversary of its first release … Meanwhile the 50th birthday of “Singin’ in the Rain” is being noted by a major digital restoration via WB Technical Operations, and WB Home Video is planning a deluxe two-disc DVD set for this fall. It will contain a docu on the making of the pic. Also a VHS. A limited theatrical release of a restored print is also upcoming as well as a Turner/Rhino CD … And to note its 20th anni, UCLA’s Film and TV Archives program will screen “Making Love” on April 18 at the James Bridges Theater in Melnitz Hall. A panel discussion follows with its director Arthur Hiller, costar Kate Jackson, producer Dan Melnick and screenwriter Barry Sandler … Michael York, now co-starring in the third installment of “Austin Powers,” receives his star on the Walk of Fame on June 28. Next day, York, a longtime chairman of the California Youth Theater, will be on hand to inaugurate the Ivar Theater as CYT’s Hollywood Youth Arts Center. But first he wings to London to guestar in the pilot seg of “The Black Museum” anthology series based on the 1950s radio serial, and Orson Welles (voice) will reprise as host … The Santa Monica Playhouse will be the site March 29 for a Save the Playhouse Benefit headlined by Richard Glaser and his band. On the 28th, “Dear Gabby” will play for two performances only — also for the Save the Playhouse campaign. With the Tiffany and now the Santa Monica Playhouse reaching its final curtain, live theater in L.A. is seriously threatened.

IT’S BACK TO MIAMI for “Miami Vice’s” producer Michael Duggan, who will exec produce and write a one-hour NBC pilot, “Miss Miami” to costar Roselyn Sanchez (“Rush Hour 2”) and Jonathan Siverman. No it’s not about a beauty contest winner — Sanchez is an FBI agent, and Silverman is her boss. Stephen Surjik (“Weapons of Mass Distraction”) directs. Duggan, Sanchez and Silverman were dinding at Santa Monica’s new, hot eatery, Union, where we were guests of Joel Grey — whose son James happens to be the talented executive chef who segued from Les Deux Cafe in Hollywood and brought his delicious, new recipes to Santa Monica. He’s also an alum of Spago. Director of operations at Union is another familiar face and friend of Hollywood — Chuck Craig, who maitre deed Spago in BevHills. Furthering the showbiz alliance is the glamorous pastry chef, Natasha MacAller, whose career began as — a ballerina (in the L.A. company of “The Phantom of the Opera”). She’s still a private chef for Michael Crawford … The showbiz brigade this week at Union included the Jim Garners, Larry Hagmans and Patrick Stewarts. And at the table next to us, Tommy Tune, who said he’d just had a great experience at the Orange County Performing Arts Center…Joel Grey is now off to play the McCallum Theater in Palm Desert, Friday (SRO). He’ll miss Liza’s wedding. They costarred and both won Oscars for “Cabaret” and toured together … Mickey Rooney, who did seven pix with Liza’s mom Judy Garland, will attend the wedding with wife Jan. At the shower given Liza yesterday (Wednesday) by Denise Rich, the departing ladies were given goodie bags, which included chocolate lollypops, a G-string and pasties.

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