Shaking up B’way

A correction was made to this article on Mar. 29, 2005.

GOOD MORNING: But what would Elvis say of “All Shook Up”? I asked Mike Stoller who, with partner Jerry Leiber, wrote 25 songs for Elvis, three of which (“Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “Fools Fall in Love”) are in the show. Stoller, who was at the B’way bow with wife Corky Hale, frankly told me, “I went there prepared not to like it. I loved it. The whole show is a hoot,” Stoller says. “Elvis had a great sense of humor. He would have liked it. Actually, when he was appearing in Las Vegas, he was doing a send-off of himself, wearing those scarves and tossing them (sweat-drenched) to the audience. He’d have gotten a big kick out of it (the show) and also of Cheyenne Jackson (Chad, the Presley-ish lead) who is terrific.” (Tonight, Lisa Marie Presley is expected to see “All Shook Up.”) Reflecting on the unending popularity of Elvis, whose records continue to top charts internationally, Stoller admits, “It’s amazing. He is beyond an icon. It’s unbelievable.” Stoller could not hazard a guess on the number of Elvis Presley recordings of Leiber and Stoller songs have been sold — and are selling. “Anything to do with Elvis sells.” “Jailhouse Rock, the Musical,” playing in London, is now being talked of for B’way as well. … Stoller recalled the first time he’d heard of Elvis was when he returned to N.Y. harbor following the sinking of the Andrea Doria. Leiber met him at the dock and told him, “We’ve got a smash hit, ‘Hound Dog’ with Elvis.” “I said, ‘Elvis who’?” Stoller recalls. Their history-making association took off with a recording session produced by the duo with “Jailhouse Rock,” “Treat Me Nice,” “(You’re So Square), Baby But I Don’t Care,” and “I Wanna Be Free.” Stoller even played piano for Elvis in “Jailhouse Rock,” getting paid $30 a week for working in the movie. … The friendship with Elvis came to an end, Stoller recalls, because Colonel Tom Parker want them to be close — and because Parker wanted all their songs published under Elvis’ banner. “We got in a hassle with (Parker),” Stoller explains … Today, Leiber and Stoller’s “Smokey Joe’s Café” touring companies continues the success of its B’way run. The duo has also completed 12 of a projected 14 new tunes for their musicalized Oscar Wilde triangle — Wilde, his wife and his boyfriend … Meanwhile, you can catch live jazz in L.A. at Corky’s (Mrs. Mike Stoller’s) adjoining their EM Bistro.

TWO OF THE TOWN’S top movie fans are — Rikki Kleiman and her husband police chief Bill Bratton. During dinner with them at La Terza, we learned they are particularly interested in a movie about to start — it’s the Martin Scorsese-directed “The Departed” starring Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon in the story of the Boston Mafia, the Boston police and the FBI. Kleiman and Bratton were involved in a real-life counterpart of the story in Boston when she was a young prosecutor and later a criminal defense attorney. And Bratton was a police officer coming up through the ranks. One of the principals is still in jail and the central Mafia figure has disappeared. In the pic’s story, Nicholson’s a Mafia boss, while DiCaprio and Damon are opposing each other in the police force. Meanwhile, Kleiman was particularly interested in the latest Michael Jackson trial development — allowance of previous trial testimony vs. Jackson — as it give her E! daily re-creation of the trial added fuel for debate … Bobby Short’s attorney Elliot Hoffman revealed to me that Bobby had called from Mougins, prior to the return to N.Y., and had changed his mind about retiring from his stand at the Carlyle. Short told Hoffman, “Let’s make another yearlong deal. That’s what I do — I want to continue.” Hoffman said he even started talking to the Carlyle.

JACK VALENTI IS IN the courtroom of the Supreme Court today — as a guest of Chief Justice Scalia. Valenti is there to watch the proceedings of MGM’s case vs. the Groksters. Valenti fought piracy for 15 years during which the studios lost two court cases in district and appeals courts. The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case was cheered by Valenti who, although no longer MPA boss, is highly interested as senior advisor and counsel to the MPAA. Valenti next off to Africa as a friend of the Global Fight vs. Tuberculosis, Malaria and AIDS. He has signed with the Washington Speakers’ Bureau and has already given seven speeches; he’s set for eight upcoming. He is pleased with his successor Dan Glickman and sez he’s doing a “wonderful” job … Robert “Bob” Long has been unanimously elected president of the L.A. Chapter of the USMC Combat Correspondents Assn. Long is vice president and news director of KNBC. He’s a Vietnam vet and his post-service career has included heading his own indie production company. The association will pay homage to the 60th anni of the battle of Iwo Jima at their April 2 meeting at the Smoke House in Toluca Lake … The threat of a new tsunami brings news that Bertram van Munster, co-creator and exec producer of the “Amazing Race,” has gifted a victim of the (first) tsunami with a tract of land in an area where the farmer and his family had lost their home and all their belongings. Bertram and his wife-partner Elise Doganieri are now scouting locations for “Amazing Race 8” … David Schwimmer directs “New Car Smell,” the new half-hour series for Fox starring Brooke Shields and Chris McDonald with Bernie Brillstein and Peter Safran as exec producers, written by Rob and Mark Cullen … Producer Nellie Bellflower, an Oscar-nominated producer for “Finding Neverland,” is heading to London to work on financing for “The Girl in Melanie Klein,” the Peter Yates-directed film version of Ronnie Harwood’s script-novel. She reports the $25 million “Neverland” is at the $120 million box office mark. Star Johnny Depp told Bellflower he’d play the musicalized B’way version (also Miramax) for six months — when/if it happens … Anthony Slide signs copies of his “American Racist: The Life and Films of Thomas Dixon” Wednesday at the Samuel French Theatre Bookshop in Studio City. Dixon was one of the most popular writers at the beginning of the 20th century, but he is best remembered today as the author who provided the source material for D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth Of A Nation.” He was opposed to just about everything: Communism, socialism and feminism. And produced a film in 1926, “The Fall of a Nation.”


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