Jones has no ‘Doubt’ about ‘Faith’

FRESH FROM ravishing the second act of Brian Friel’s captivating drama “Faith Healer,” Cherry Jones breezes into Joe Allen’s, removes her helmet and stores it in a large sack. She has biked up from her new apartment in Greenwich Village. She eases into a chair and orders a tostada. “You know while I was in ‘Doubt’ I gave up smoking and found myself devoted to devouring tostadas nightly. I grew to operatic proportions under my sister’s habit!” … “Faith Healer” closes July 30, after its smashing run. Then Cherry will join her co-stars doing “Doubt” in London’s West End and, come fall, appear at L.A.’s Ahmanson. … There is talk out of London’s West End that Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning movie “Gladiator” will be the next unlikely theme to be musicalized. Brian Eastman produces, William Nicholson, who co-wrote the movie screenplay has been working on the stage book. Hans Zimmer’s admired score for the film will be used as well. And who will play the brave gladiator himself? Producers are said to want Brian Stokes Mitchell. … “Pogo & Evie: A Zydeco Musical” opened Wednesday at the Jacques-Imo’s Cajun/Creole Restaurant and Theater on 77th and Columbus. It has been directed by a waiter, produced by two bartenders and was written by the cafe’s best customer — the Texas-born Aaron Latham of “Urban Cowboy” fame. … Latham was moved to write a show about a community circumscribed by its own music. He traveled to the epicenter of zydeco — Lafayette, La. — where he heard the tale of Amede Ardoin, the legendary accordion player considered to be the father of zydeco music, whose death is shrouded in mystery. The story suggested a present-day plot with two bands — one all black that plays zydeco, the other all white that plays traditional Cajun. The story turned into a battle of the bands with a Romeo and Juliet subplot.

DIANE KEATON has just signed on as the new spokeswoman for L’Oreal Paris’ Age Perfect Pro-Calcium Restorative Hydrating Cream. And the Supporting and Hydrating Makeup. L’Oreal says Diane “epitomizes what every woman wants. She is a natural beauty. Nothing artificial. She is comfortable with who she is.” … On June 10 at Carnegie Hall, the United States Postal Service unveils the latest in its “Legends of Hollywood” series –a Judy Garland stamp. Judy’s daughter Lorna Luft, pop star Rufus Wainwright — who will recreate Miss G’s concert at the hall a few days later –and Judy historian John Fricke will be on hand. … Lili Taylor receives the first “Excellence in Acting Award” at the Provincetown Film Festival next month.

DANIEL CRAIG, the hot, blond new 007, was photographed a couple of months ago emerging from the sea in a bathing suit, shooting a scene from the movie, “Casino Royale.” He looked great, packing a lot of muscle. But the company filmed in Prague for several weeks recently, and Craig became enamored with the local fare — borscht, dumplings, etc. The actor began to suffer the effects of hearty eating. Producer Barbara Broccoli was stirred and shaken when she noticed her star’s new physique. She sent for a personal trainer recommended by London entrepreneur Tamara Mellon. Daniel’s bod is back to its licensed-to-thrill perfection. … Joseph Volpe, general manager of the Met for 16 years, has written his memoir, “The Toughest Show on Earth: My Rise and Reign at the Metropolitan Opera” (Knopf). The book is gritty and contains some surprises. Volpe became close to Luciano Pavarotti and has a poignant tale about the tenor’s bitter divorce from his wife, Adua, in 1998. Luciano called Joe to his dressing room: “I have no man friends to talk to about it.”

HERE’S SOME good news. The famous columnist Art Buchwald, who was not expected to survive long after his refusal to have dialysis, is still going strong. He wrote me, “Liz, thanks for the plug. Believe it or not, I’m having a hell of a time. I didn’t think dying could be this much fun. Love, Art.” You could send Art a note at 4329 Hawthorne St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20016.

E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com

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